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Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

I’ve been thinking alot about my parents lately – maybe it’s the holidays. In any event, it made sense for my sister and I to take a ride down to Philadelphia today, where a painting that once belonged to my parents now graces the corner of one wall in the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s American Art Collection. The painting is “Doorway in Tangier” by the artist Henry O. Tanner, an internationally acclaimed African American painter active in the late 19th century and into the early part of the twentieth. While in Paris, Tanner apparently befriended my grandfather’s cousin Philip Miller, a talented but less well-known painter who later became a newspaper cartoonist. Tanner gifted the painting to Philip, who in turn presented it to my parents as a wedding present. My father took delight in its historical provenance; my mother, an aspiring artist, in Tanner’s evocative use of light and color. It held a cherished place in our living room and when my parents passed on, we called around to see which museum might appreciate its significance and similarly honor it. The folks at PMA were and continue to be most gracious, welcoming us during our now annual pilgrimage. No question that the very best legacy is one in which certain values and attributes are passed down from generation to generation. Still, it’s a bit of a thrill to know that a work by such a culturally important artist lives on through a remarkable “regifting” process and at the same time to see a familiar fixture of our childhood hanging so importantly next to a plaque bearing my folks’ names.

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I am amazed that getting into prison is becoming so de rigeur it’s downright fashionable. I mean, there was Nicole Richie, mulling over her own impending incarceration on David Letterman, giggling that “everyone goes to jail.” Maybe she was nervous. Or maybe she was resorting to a variation of the “everyone’s doing it” line of reasoning, which usually covers everything from hard partying among the privileged set to false testimony in front of this or that agency or committee. But I don’t think the young celebs are as blase about getting locked up as they pretend to be, notwithstanding the glamorous mug shot of Paris Hilton. Sure, jail time can revive a fading career but the food is awful and there are no cell phones. That may be why Ms. Hilton was released to her home this morning due to an “unspecified medical condition” after serving only three days of her sentence. According to an Associated Press article, “her new lockup is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom, Spanish-style home on .14 acres above the Sunset Strip.” Bummer.

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