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Annie - San Francisco, CA

I don't live-blog from the tents.

poeticandchic [at] gmail

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Sunday
Jul032011

Aptos - July 3,1938

Left to right: Nellie Angelbeck, Anita Angelbeck, Grace Angelbeck Orognen and Ida Angelbeck Haughey.

I'm at my parents home this weekend to enjoy the holiday. Last night, after a bit of wine with old friends, we found ourselves going through some boxes of old photos and I found this one which I'd never seen before.

I knew right away that it was my Grandma Ida with two of her three sisters and their mother, Nellie in the back. But even better than this gorgeous photo is the date - I turned it over and found "Aptos 7-3-38" written there. Amazing.

I love that they're all so cute and pretty and athletic, and being silly with each other on a hot day at the beach. My great-grandmother Nellie looks like she always does in photos: a little distant and quiet, amid the hub-bub of her daughters - even though all three of them were grown. My Granny, the eldest at right was 33, while Grace in the middle was 31, and Nini was about 27-28.

Friday
Jul012011

Bon Weekend!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone! This will be my first weekend off since April and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest! Bring on the heat!

This flag printed on an old dictionary page is from one of my favorite Etsy sellers - fauxkiss - of Portland, OR, who is selling this for just $12!

Tuesday
Jun282011

Postcard: Sunset from Hopi Point, Grand Canyon

"The Grand Canyon is the world's most conspicuous example of erosion. From this point one beholds a mighty chasm eleven miles wide and over a mile deep."

This is an utterly gorgeous postcard that's in mint condition and totally unused...I have no idea how it came to me! To be honest, I find I kind of prefer the used postcards because I love reading the messages and seeing the postmarks - that's the most fascinating part!

Apart from the wonderful psychedelic coloration on this beauty, this postcard is also labeled with the "Fred Harvey Hotels-Shops-Restaurants" signature. As any Judy Garland fan knows, Fred Harvey founded the Harvey Houses all along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, effectively launching America's first restaurant chain in the 1870s. The railway stretched from Chicago to California, carrying passengers to multiple points through the Southwest. (Garland went on to star in the popular MGM musical The Harvey Girls in 1946, all about the culture of the famous Harvey Houses and their scrappy, but charming waitresses.)

In the days before dining cars, train passengers were forced to eat in the roadhouses found along the journey, many of which were somewhat unsavory (both in their fare and their setting.) By setting high standards for food, cleanliness, and service, Harvey brought civility to the "Wild West" of the late 19th Century. Efficient and economical, Harvey Houses were known for serving entire trains full of passengers in under 30 minutes, while they also developed a reputation for value: pies were cut into fourths instead of sixths, etc.

The Harvey Houses endured well into the 20th Century, and today the few that remain are being refurbished, or used as museums of Western heritage.

Sunday
Jun262011

P&C Questionnaire: Sterling Style

Taylor Sterling always likes to tell me that it was a post on Poetic & Chic that inspired her to start her Sterling Style blog. This is indeed one of the most flattering notions in all of blogging history. The idea that my little commentary on a 30 second Miss Dior Cherie commercial would lead to the Sterling Style-Glitter Guide empire is absolutely incredible to me!

So, it is only fitting that I finally get Taylor in the P&C Questionnaire hot-seat! Without further ado, I give you Ms. Taylor "Sterling"...

 

What is your occupation and how did you arrive at it?

I'm a full-time blogger running my own fashion blog Sterling Style (www.sterlingstyle.net) and I'm about to launch a new lifestyle website Glitter Guide (www.theglitterguide.com). I've been in love with fashion and lifestyle magazines since I was young. I was a fashion intern at Women's Wear Daily in Los Angeles in college. After college I tried other careers but I always felt a pull towards working in this industry and I'm happy to now be working on my own business. It's very rewarding.

Name three things that inspired you this week.

1. Watching my boyfriend gear up for his CrossFit regional competition. I've never met anyone with as much drive and dedication. He inspires me everyday.

2. The movie "Midnight in Paris" by Woody Allen. It was so charming and really portrayed the beauty of Paris.

3. The Glitter Guide Tumblr (www.theglitterguide.tumblr.com). Are fans submit pictures of how they sparkle and they are always so in inspiring.

What is your personal style "uniform"?


A cargo jacket, striped top, dark skinny jeans, and flats. I wear this all the time.

Name one type of clothing, shoes, or accessory that always makes you stop and stare, and explain why.

A vintage rhinestone necklace. I'm obsessed. Every time I see one I want to buy it.

Do you buy vintage? If so, what piece in your collection is your favorite?

Yes! Currently, it's my vintage brown envelope clutch. I got it on Etsy and it complements my modern pieces perfectly.

 

Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong time? If so, what era would you like to have lived in and why?

Not really. However, I'm fond of 60s fashion.

 

What current trend do you like the most?

 

I love the bold color trend. I always wear color but right now I'm really playing with it and it's so fun.

 

What current trend (in your opinion) cannot disappear fast enough?

I'm not fond of those trendy Jeffrey Campbell "Lita" shoes. They're just not my style.

What film could you watch over and over and still find something inspiring? Why?

"Amelie" was one of those movies that had me transfixed and mesmerized. I still feel that way every time I watch it. It's so beautiful and creative and a sweet love story.

 

If blogging didn't exist, how would you fill your extra time?

I'd probably still be clipping out magazines and pasting them in inspiration folders. I've been doing that since I was 17.´╗┐

All images from Sterling Style, except image #2 - a film still from Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, 2011.

Sunday
Jun262011

Show Me Your Fives!

"The Figure 5 in Gold" by Charles Demuth, 1928

I think that July 16th of 2006 was a Saturday. Was it? I'm not sure. I just remember being on my sofa with my laptop, trying to make my utterly pedestrian photo of a bookshelf look like a stylish blog header. Yes, it's been FIVE YEARS since I first started this blog (well, it will be in about 3 weeks) and I think that's something to celebrate, don't you? 

I always joke that Poetic & Chic is my longest relationship. As any blogger knows, keeping up with this project/hobby/journal/art form takes serious devotion. There are always days when you don't want to be bothered, when you get a nasty comment, or simply cannot muster the muse to put forth even the merest bit of witty drivel. But, you do. So here I am five years later and feeling rather proud of the whole thing.

Let's face it, I'm not one of the usual bloggers with self-protraiture, Polyvore collages, and photos of perfectly styled stacks of vintage books and over-bloomed flowers. No, that's not my thing. I'm never going to win the contests of the mosts: most commenters, most readers, most followers, etc, but I never wanted to be one of those bloggers. I could have done things differently of course, but I did what I always thought was true to me: quality content; a mix of old world and new; thoughts on luxury, style, trends, history, art, culture, and what-not; and a bit of humor on the side.

Every time I've even considered hanging up my keyboard I'm drawn right back into the fray. My strong and stalwart group of fans raise a ruckus and I reconsider. Hence we arrive at the 5th Anniversary of Poetic & Chic.

Now it comes to you. Won't you help me celebrate this momentous blog birthday? I'm compiling a celebration of FIVES... Send me your fives in any shape, image, or photo before July 16th and I'll put them together in a birthday post that day. What's a five? Anything you want. Five of anything: big rings, birds, kids, fingers, red shoes, clouds, cracks in the sidewalk...what ever you can conjure! Send it to me poeticandchic [at] gmail.com, and I'll round them up for a celebratory post. I thought this was a fun, artsy way to get everyone involved and make the blog a living work of art in honor of the 5th anniversary!!!

I cannot wait to see what your fives are!

Saturday
Jun252011

Bon Weekend!

This image is the perfect metaphor for me these past few weeks. As soon as I saw it on Etsy I said "YES!"... I just love turning a corner and finding a bit of lovely art that totally resonates. Have a fabulous weekend everyone! For me, I'm already looking to the end of this week when I can disappear for the long holiday weekend!

"Balancing Act" is available on Etsy for $20 from ThePairaBirds, the studio of illustrator Tabitha Bianca Brown who is based in the Chicago area.

Wednesday
Jun222011

Postcard: Atlantic City, 1946

Not only is this card postmarked from 1946, it also reads "June 22" - something I hadn't noticed until last night after I had already decided that this would be the postcard of the week. Amazing, eh? This is the classic multi-scene-within-the-letters postcard style that originated in the early part of the 20th century, and I must say it's a beauty! Why did they ever phase this out in favor of glossy photo cards? I prefer this so much more - it's dramatic, colorful, exciting, and gives you a little bit of everything, as well as a lesson on fonts and illustration.

Yes, everyone loves a "Greetings from..." postcard. They're right up there with the "Wish you were here" greetings and the many locales that term themselves "America's playground". But none of those postcard styles show this level of artistry.

I've never been to Atlantic City, but it sounds like it's the kind of place I would have loved back in its prime. A perfect slice of old-timey Americana...what else would it be with a postcard like this?

Monday
Jun202011

Cheetah Chic

Phyllis Gordon with her cheetah, shopping in London, 1939

I came across this image of actress Phyllis Gordon out shopping with her pet cheetah a number of months ago, but it's been on my mind ever since. I'm enchanted by the inherent insouciance of it all. Imagine trotting out to do a few errands in the neighborhood and bringing along your favorite big cat just for kicks! This is the essence of luxury and chic.

I'm not at all what one would term a "cat person". I'm cool with cats, but wouldn't choose to have one over a feisty and funny terrier. I've been known to cat-sit here and there which isn't altogether unpleasant, although I'd prefer a cold wet nose over a sandpaper-tongue. So it is interesting that I find myself completely jealous of those eternally-stylish women who through history have sported cats as an accessory. Not just any cat, but a full-grown cheetah or leopard. Hands down, this is beyond stylish and everyone knows it - no Yorkie in a Louis Vuitton bag could compete.

As Jessica Kerwin Jenkins writes in Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, "by the twentieth century the cat's sexy, slinky reputation was appreciated by bohemians, intellectuals, and some extremely glamorous women, who upped the ante by taking in leopards as pets...As they proved, no animal makes a more stunning sidekick than a glowering great cat."

Women casually strolling with a cheetah on a leash sounds like something out of an old Hollywood urban legend. You know the scene: fur coat to the floor with a sharp cloche hat and five big cats on a chain, preferably while walking briskly down a train platform with the steam rising and a porter trailing with a mountain of trunks. My whole life I've longed to be this woman.

Marchesa Casati with her leopards, by Paget-Fredericks ca. 1920s

When I first started reading about the Marchesa Casati, I became enchanted with her pet cheetahs. According to legend, the Marchesa would take her private gondola across the Grand Canal late at night just to walk her pets through the Piazza San Marco. True to form, she would perform this ritual while completely naked but for a fur coat. Imagine running into that after too many Bellinis at Harry's Bar!

Marchesa Casati with her pet cheetah, 1912

Josephine Baker was also known to sport a leopard named Chiquita around Paris in the 1920s when she was the most flamboyant act in town. Diana Vreeland saw the pair out at the movies once and loved how Chiquita pulled Baker into her white Rolls Royce in a single bound: "Ah! What a gesture!...I've never seen anything like it. It was speed at its best, and style."

Josephine Baker & Chiquita

Gloria Swanson also seems like the type who would have had cheetahs close at hand. In Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond seems to be surrounded by leopard skins in one way or another. Even the seats of her Isota-Fraschini are upholstered in leopard skins. This detail in the production lends itself to the once-glorious past of Norma Desmond, recalling glamorous days of dancing the tango with Valentino.

Desmond's character probably had some basis on one of the original movie starlets, the great Pola Negri. Although she made her mark in early silent film in Europe, Negri signed a contract with Paramount and came to Hollywood in 1922. (It was she, not the fictional Norma Desmond, who met Valentino at a classic Davies-Hearst costume party at San Simeon a few years later. The two became lovers until Valentino's death in 1926.) Like the Marchesa Casati, Negri also had a weakness for cheetahs and walked hers frequently down the real Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood's heyday.

Negri's love of cheetahs came full circle much later on when in 1964, Negri starred with Hayley Mills in Disney's The Moon Spinners as Mrs. Habib, a character with a pet cheetah named Shalimar. While filming this teenage caper flick in London, it is said that Negri caused a sensation walking the cheetah nonchalantly through a hotel lobby. It sounds as though Negri not only knew the essence of glamour, but that she also had a true sense of humor too.

Hayley Mills & Pola Negri in The Moon Spinners, with a cheetah in the background.

To seal Hollywood's fascination with the luxury of keeping a big cat, there's also Bringing Up Baby - an entire screwball comedy devoted to the antics surrounding a rich woman's pet cheetah.

Film stars with cheetahs seems to be a classic combination. If they didn't keep them as pets they were certainly photographed with the cats as props; I would guess it is because of the wild, exotic, and animalistic connotations. You can't really argue with that. Indeed, the earliest Hollywood stars seem to have been photographed with cheetahs time and again in their ultra-glamorous, fantasy-driven publicity stills.

Bebe Daniels and a cheetah.

Joan Blondell and a cheetah.

I suppose that it isn't entirely practical to aspire to keeping a cheetah in this day and age. But was it ever practical? No. It's their impracticality that makes them so very stylish. All of these women seem to have been a bit "unleashed" while accompanied by a big cat on a leash. The sexy, outrageous, glamorous, diva-ish behaviour just seems to go hand in hand with this type of indulgence. Anything that's so truly luxurious as a pet cheetah could only be utterly, exuberantly beautiful in itself.

For more images of starlets & cheetahs, be sure to visit this post from the Pictures blog.

All images from internet searches.

Friday
Jun172011

Bon Weekend!

"On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed facade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people; a decade ago it was almost deserted after its English clientele went north in April. Now, many bungalows cluster near it, but when this story begins only the cupolas of a dozen old villas rotted like water lilies among the massed pines between Gausse's Hôtel des Étrangers and Cannes, five miles away."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, 1933

Image: Bibi at the Eden Roc Hotel, 1920; Jacques Henri Lartigue

Thursday
Jun162011

Picasso, The Steins, and Modern Art in San Francisco

Pablo Picasso, Paul as Harlequin, 1924. Musée National Picasso, Paris

One of the highlights of my Spring reading included Amanda Vaill’s Everybody was So Young, a fantastic biography of Sara & Gerald Murphy. Their presence is at the very core of the Occidental art world after World War I. They supported the artists that created the “Lost Generation” culture not only financially, but also with their loyal friendship. The Hemingways, Dos Passoses, Picassos, Porters, MacLeishes, and Fitzgeralds all met together around the Murphy family. As it usually happens, this book was just the beginning of this year’s fascination with this time period in art, writing, and culture. It seems Woody Allen is also obsessed with this time period, and luckily a few San Francisco art museums are too.

The only glaring flaw I found in Woody Allen’s charming new Midnight in Paris, was that of the omission of the Murphys. How could all of these other wonderful artists and writers come to life without a mention of them? (It is thought that Picasso even may have had an affair with Sara Murphy, having drawn her a number of times on the beach in the south of France. Hemingway was also known to have a crush.) Personal criticism aside, the film provides a lovely glimpse into the Parisian art world of the 1920s and gives lively form to the relationship between Pablo Picasso & Gertrude Stein. If you’re even awake in San Francisco this month, you’ll surely be aware of two major art exhibitions involving these two. Picasso – Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris is now open at the de Young Museum, while The Steins Collect graces the walls at the SFMOMA.

Just as Balenciaga & Spain was heightened by its neighboring “fashion” exhibit, Pulp Fashion – The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave, we now have an entirely new dialogue between masterpieces, collections, museums, and even between one singular artist. The fact that the two museums showing these exhibits are only a few miles apart makes it all the more wonderful for the city of San Francisco.

Both shows provide a unique perspective on Picasso, but it is when the shows are taken together that the artist becomes even more complete.

The Picasso exhibit at the de Young draws from the Musée National Picasso in Paris. In 1968, France passed a law that allows inheritance tax to be paid in works of art – as long as the art is important to the French national heritage. This law, called dation, was perfectly timed for the death of Picasso in 1973. The bulk of the collection was amassed in 1986, upon the death of Jacqueline Picasso. It was then that Picasso’s heirs – Paolo, Maya, Claude, and Paloma (the jewelry designer) – made a new dation to the French state from their father’s own collection.

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937. Musée National Picasso, Paris.

Because the collection from the Musée National Picasso is comprised of the artist’s own personal collection, it is vast but also a little overwhelming. As anyone who’s studied Picasso knows, his great works are so momentous that it’s difficult to see anything else in the room. However, when his works are mere attempts or not pushed far enough, they show their battle wounds right at the surface. While some of the great Picassos are among the collection of the Musée National Picasso, the collection shows the artist’s preferences for smaller, quieter, more personal work. Some of the works are even unfinished sketches, or mere gestures made by the artist’s hand. Is this why he kept them? Was there something in a line, a form, a figure, or a sketch that though only hinted at, it was enough for Picasso to want to hold onto it his entire life?

In this regard, I think the exhibit is the perfect classroom for art students and lovers of the creative process. It shows how Picasso worked, how he developed ideas, and how he experimented. It also provides an overall timeline of his career, showing how his work changed while it still remained inherently Picasso.

Two of the best paintings shown are presented in a genius pairing right next to each other. The famous Portrait of Dora Maar is hung with Seated Woman in Front of a Window. The two women appear to be talking to each other, from their respective chairs but each shows an incredible difference in style - remarkable given that both were painted in the same year, 1937. Here are two paintings in which Picasso is fully realized.

Apart from these, I also loved the examples of Picasso’s Analytic Cubism with Sacré-Coeur from 1909-1910, as well as Man with a Guitar and Man with a Mandolin, both from 1911.

Although I understand the exhibition’s curators wanting to focus exclusively on Picasso, the Musée National Picasso’s collection also includes works that the artist collected from colleagues such as Cézanne, Degas, de Chirico, and Matisse, among others. It would have been nice to see some of these pieces included in order to give the collection greater context.

Of course, The Steins Collect at the SFMOMA is the perfect opportunity to gain such a perspective. Showcasing the collections of Gertrude, Leo, Michael & Sarah Stein, and tracing their roots directly to the SFMOMA, The Steins Collect is not only grand, but also moving in its intimacy.

This exhibition not only shows the works the Steins gathered during their years among the Parisian avant-garde, but also their own paintings, drawings, letters, and family snapshots. It is truly mind-boggling how many major works passed through the Stein family over the years. As collectors, they purchased the best of what they could afford, creating a collection of remarkable and daring pieces for their time. This makes the exhibition less of a jumble and more of a tightly focused journey through early modern art. Works include Renoir's Study, Torso Effect of Sunlight from 1876, a minor, but charming Manet entitled Ball Scene from 1873, Matisse's Joy of Life from 1905-06 now at The Barnes Foundation, as well as his remarkable Blue Nude: Memory of Biskra from 1907. Other artists in the collection include Gauguin, Cézanne, Manguin, Weber, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Vallotton, and of course, Picasso.

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Steins' early support of Henri Matisse and his Woman with a Hat from 1905 (now the darling of the SFMOMA’s permanent collection,) made the Steins the center of modern artistic circles at the time. So many people came to see the scandalous Matisse that they had to hold open houses on Saturday evenings for years to accommodate requests. The Steins' support of Matisse was loyal and steadfast, carrying on for decades. I was particularly charmed by a series of lithographed Matisse nudes from the mid-1920s, shown in a series.

Here too is Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein from 1905-1906 (which features prominently in Midnight in Paris,) as well as some truly remarkable works from his blue and rose periods.  Indeed, Strolling Player and Child from 1905 from Sarah & Michael Stein’s collection is considered to be the transitional work between Picasso’s blue and rose periods. Young Acrobat on a Ball and Boy Leading a Horse, both from 1905 also show this exceptionally beautiful time in Picasso’s oeuvre, and echo back to sketches seen at the de Young exhibition. It is also in The Steins Collect that one sees a series of heads Picasso created after seeing an African mask Matisse brought to the Steins one afternoon. These heads then found their way into the masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon from 1907, Three Women from 1908 (at the SFMOMA), and Three Figures Beneath a Tree from 1907-1908 on display at the de Young. The Stein collection also includes work from Georges Braque - Picasso's significant counterpart in the development of Cubism.

Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, 1905-06. The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

The beauty of The Steins Collect is also in the way its curators re-created the Steins' spaces. Lfe-sized images of their apartments show exactly how the family hung their collection, while the associated exhibition room has those very works on the walls. It’s a simple presentation, but it makes perfect, cohesive sense.

Between these two exhibitions San Franciscans currently have a rare treat to experience some exceptional artwork. Indeed, I think that the shows are made even better by their juxtaposition to each other. Taken together, there is an even more intense dialogue created about art, society, family, and the creative process, and from some of the most important figures in the 20th Century’s cultural history.

In other words, do not miss these!

´╗┐Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris is at the de Young museum until October 9, 2011. Tickets are $25 for adults; advanced reservations required.

The Steins Collect is at the SFMOMA until September 6, 2011. Tickets are $25 for adults.