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Copyright: March 18, 2001
By: Laura Deni
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MUCH ADO ABOUT ART
He was a debt ridden alcoholic. He was also unsurpassed as a portrait artist in his generation in
America. Now $30 million has been given to keep the portrait Gilbert Stuart painted of George
Washington at the Smithsonian Institution.
GILBERT STUART By William Miller c.1790 oil on
Born in 1755 in North Kingston, Rhode Island, his first commission was a painting of two
dogs lying under a table. When Stuart was fourteen, he was introduced to Cosmo Alexander, an
artist and prominent member of the Scottish community in Newport. Impressed by Stuart's
artistic ability Alexander brought him on a tour of Scotland. But, the trip didn't go well.
Alexander died shortly after arriving and Stuart had to work his way back to America as a sailor.
At the age of twenty, he was able to travel abroad again, this time to London. It was the
hospitality of Benjamin West which aided him there and allowed him to mingle with the most
distinguished artists and patrons of London. When one of his paintings was exhibited at
the Royal Academy, he was launched into a successful career.
His problem with alcohol became so severe that he was forced to return to America first settling
in New York from 1793-1795, moving to Philadelphia from 1795-1893 where he did his first
portrait of George Washington. He moved to the new capital at Washington, D.C. living there
between 1803-1805. Never mind that he was heavily in debt and a drunk, his artistic reputation
guaranteed a steady demand for his work, and even allowed him to paint over one hundred
likenesses of George Washington, making his countenance well known to the nation.
In 1805 he settled in Boston and painted the Gibbs-Coolidge Set, the only surviving depiction of
all five first presidents. Because he portrayed virtually all the notable men and women of the
Federal period in the United States, Gilbert Stuart was declared the "Father of American
Portraiture" by his contemporaries.
Before his death in 1828 at seventy-two, Stuart also taught many followers. A charming
conversationalist, Stuart entertained his sitters during long hours of posing to sustain the fresh
spontaneity of their expressions. To emphasize facial characterization, he eliminated unnecessary
accessories and preferred dark, neutral backgrounds and simple, bust - or half-length
One of his Washington paintings appears on the $1 bill
Another Washington portrait is known as The Lansdowne, often reproduced in
school text books.
The commonly used name - the Lansdowne painting - comes from the name of the person
for whom it was painted, the Marquis of Lansdowne. It was commissioned by one of America's
wealthiest men, Sen. William Binghman, and his wife Anne, as a gift for the Marquis of
Klansdowne, a British supporter of the American cause in Parliament during the
The gift was a remarkable gesture of gratitude and a symbol of reconciliation between American
and Great Britain.
The War of 1812 broke out again 16 years later.
GEORGE WASHINGTON by Gilbert
The 8-foot by 5-foot portrait shows Washington in a black suit, with an oratorical gesture of an
outstretched hand, the way he used to appear at state occasions during his presidency. He was
making his last appearance before Congress in Philadelphia. Only three such paintings by Stuart
are known to exist, and this is the original, painted from life in 1796, three years before his death
The 205-year old painting is in excellent condition according to Portrait Gallery Curator of
Painting and Sculpture Ellen Miles. The perovienance or history of the portrait is fully
documented, Miles added, from the artist's studio to the current owner's family's purchase of it in
The portrait's owner, 33-year-old Lord Dalmeny of London, heir to a wealthy family, notified the
Smithsonian that he had decided to sell the portrait. He gave the National Portrait Gallery an
exclusive opportunity to purchase it for $20 million, but only if the Smithsonian could acquire the
resources by April l.
This was viewed as a patriotic emergency and Donald W Reynolds Foundation, based in Las
Vegas, answered the call said National Portrait Gallery Director, Marc Pachter.
Reynolds' Donrey Media Group owned 52 newspapers in Nevada, Oklahoma, Arkansas, including
the flagship Las Vegas Review Journal, plus other communications outlets from North
Carolina to Hawaii.
Overweight and some termed overbearing, decades ago when Reynolds would visit the
Review Journal newsroom crusty reporters would ready for his arrival by putting new ribbons
in their manual typewriters and polishing their desks. Behind his back they called him "Piggy."
When Reynolds died he left the bulk of his fortune to the foundation. Considered one of the
largest U.S. private foundations, the Reynolds Foundation has assets totaling just under $1.3
billion. They provided a grant of $30 million to buy the painting.
Lawrence Small, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, said the portrait would be sent
on a nationwide tour before the renovated gallery reopens.
Of the $30 million, $20 million will go to Lord Dalmeny. The remainder of the grant will be
divided with $6 million to finance the tour and $4 million to pay for a permanent installation for
the Lansdowne at the portrait gallery.
Master glassblower and painter Dale Chihuly is also considered a national treasure. (See
Broadway To Vegas column of July 25, 1999). More than 350 pieces of Chihuly's glass art is on
display at the Las Vegas Art Museum through April 30, including a handful of the surviving
Venetians from the George R. Stroemple collection.
The 54-year-old Stroemple is a businessman with an eye for progressive art. With a catalog of
more than 500 pieces, Stroemple is the largest Chihuly collector as well as one of the artist's
However, the collection is slightly smaller than it once was.
On the eve of the Feb. 28 the 6.8 Seattle earthquake, sent ten of the top-heavy pieces from his
Venetians series tumbling to the floor. In less than 60 seconds the world-famous glass
artist lost 40 pieces ranging from an estimated $10,000 to $40,000 each.
"I do about 1,000 pieces a year, and I'm talking about that's what makes it (out of the ovens)," he
said. "A lot of them don't."
The 59-year-old Seattle artist who wears orthopedic shoes for his bad back and has customized
brightly colored silk shirt and pants shipped to him on the road, where he spends an average of
240 days a year -- is philosophical.
That's all right. As he said, "I make a lot of glass."
In 1971 he co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, which continues to be a leader in the
world of contemporary glass art. Chihuly is also one of three artists to present a solo exhibit at the
Louvre in Paris of both glass pieces and paintings.
The next big project is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, which is under construction in
Tacoma, Wash., and scheduled for completion in the summer of 2002. The 3500-ton bridge will
lead to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, a coup for the glass movement that has finally been
recognized as a fine-art form within the past 10 years.
In addition to Las Vegas, Chihuly exhibits are on display in; Through April 29 the Group
Exhibition: Venini: Glass and Design Museo ItaloAmericano, San Francisco, CA.
Through May 20, the Chihuly Seaforms at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, CA.
Through May 20, the Group Exhibition: Lino Tagliapietra e Amici Fuller Museum of Art,
Brockton, MA. March 24 - June 3, Chihuly Baskets at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento,
American Stage held its annual Much Ado About Art Auction last Friday at Saltcreek Artworks in
St. Petersburg, FL. The Auction, held in conjunction with the American Stage Shakespeare In
The Park production of Loves Labours Lost, is a joint effort between American Stage and
prominent visual artists from the Bay area and beyond.
The collection of art at the Much Ado Auction is inspired by the words of Shakespeare himself.
Cast members from the American Stage Shakespeare In The Park production of Loves
Labours Lost were on hand to read the Shakespeare quotes which correspond to each piece
Participating artists include Iris Noble and Rick Austin, Kevin Bourgeois, Herbert Davis, Lisa
Glaser, Cassandra Gordon-Harris, Paul Lamed, Dan Meisner, James Michaels, Dodie O'Keefe,
Lance Rodgers, Terry Sisaleumsak, Sa Sisaleumsak, Herb Snitzer, Kas Turner, Lynn
Whipple, and John Whipple.
The multi-talented Steve Martin will have his exceptional art collection on display in Las Vegas,
at the Bellagio Hotel's Gallery of Fine art of April 7.
Tony Randall's National Actors Theatre and the American Society for Yad Vashem
present two public educational panels entitled Judgment After Nuremberg.
The panels will follow immediately after the performances on Sunday, March 25th at 3PM and
Sunday, April 22nd at 3PM at the Longacre Theatre.
After seeing the production, the education panels will discuss the legal and moral issues that
surrounded the Nuremberg War Trials. The audience will have the opportunity to present
questions to the War Trial experts and people who took part in the hearings.
TONY RANDALL to moderate
The March 25th panel will include a discussion with Judgment at Nuremberg author Abby Mann;
Professor of Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Richard Weisberg;
and Professor Harry Reicher from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
of the panel will be Education Director, American Society for Yad Vashem, Marlene Warshawski
Yahalom, Ph.D. and the National Actors Theatre Director of Education, Amy
The April 22nd panel will include a discussion with Vivien R. Spitz, Court Reporter for the
Nuremberg War Trials; Pace University School of Law professor, Henry H. Korn Esq.,
Responsible for donating the Nuremberg War Crime papers of William Donovan - head of the
OSS - to Cornell University; and Earle I. Mack, Chairman of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School
of Law and Chairman Emeritus of the New York State Council on the Arts, who established the
NY/Israel Cultural Cooperation Commission.
The moderators of this panel will be Tony Randall, Founder and Artistic Director of the National
Actors Theatre and Education Director, American Society for Yad Vashem, Marlene
Warshawski Yahalom, Ph.D.
On Thursday Maximilian Schell returned to the production after recovering from an
appendectomy that kept him off the Lobgacre stage, where he is headlining previews of
Judgment at Nuremberg.
Schell, 70, portrays an aging minister of justice on trial in 1948
for sentences he handed down under Hitler.
He won a best actor Academy Award for the 1961
film Judgment at Nuremberg, in which he gave a passionate performance as a young
German defense lawyer.
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Nashville isn't usually the first city that comes to mind when talking about how to become a
screen writer. Don't tell that to them. Nashville hosts their third annual Nashville Screenwriters
Conference May 18-20 at the Hermitage Hotel.
Knowing that every writer wants to have a choice of avenues to increase their potential for
success, the weekend conference offers participants the opportunity to attend several writing panels led by working professionals, receptions, film screenings and informal gatherings.
Panelists, representing various aspects of the film, entertainment and music industries, aim to
give professional and aspiring screenwriters a complete picture of how projects go from idea to
fruition. Doris Roberts, the mom on CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond, attended last
year's event and returns this year.
Doris and the show received TV Guide Awards recently, while viewership is at the
highest levels ever, making it the top-rated comedy show on TV.
Doris credits the screenwriters for the show's success. "The writing on the show has always been
extraordinary. It's a dysfunctional family that's funny. If you can laugh at us, you can laugh at
your own family."
And, if you learn to how to write it, you can laugh your way to the bank.
CHRISTINE BARANSKI teamed up
with her hubby, Matthew Cowles, last Monday the Hunter College Kaye Playhouse for a
one-night-only evening presented by The Shakespeare Society. Baranski, Cowles, Professor
Harold Bloom, Philip Bosco and others perform scenes from Henry IV.
COUNTRY BENEFIT It's being called
the highest profile country fund-raiser in recent history, as stars gather to help one of their own.
Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ralph Emery, Roy
Clark, who closed last night at The Orleans in Las Vegas, Grand Ole Opry members and others in
a show March 22 to help Grand Ole Opry vet Johnny Russell. The show will happen 7:30 p.m.
March 22 at the Grand Ole Opry House.
SAINT LUCY'S EYES by
Bridgette A. Wimberly, directed by Billie Allen will have its world premiere beginning March
28 at Women's Project Theatre, NYC.
Starring Ruby Dee, St Lucy's Eyes is set in 1968 Memphis. Before women had the right
to choose, they went to "Grandma." Amid the turmoil of the Civil Rights movement, an old
woman makes her own dangerous stand against a restrictive society. In an old tenement
apartment, Grandma provides "back room" abortions to women in trouble, with a little sage
advice on the side. Her actions have a profound effect on the life and dreams of one scared
teenage girl. Twelve years later, the young woman returns the favor.
Playwright Wimberley was a Mentor Project 1999 Fellow at the Cherry Lane Alternative, with St.
Lucy's Eyes mentored by Wendy Wasserstein.
Ruby Dee and her husband Ossie Davis received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Screen
Actors Guild on last Sunday - to join her Theatre Hall of Fame, NAACP Image Award Hall of
Fame, and many other awards. Her memorable stage appearances include A Raisin in the
Sun, Purlie Victorious, Boesman and Lena (Obie Award), Wedding Band
(Drama Desk Award), Checkmates, Flyin' West, The Disappearance, Long Day's Journey Into
Night, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Agamemnon and The Glass
She has been quoted as saying: "That's what being young is all about. You have the courage and
the daring to think that you can make a difference. You're not prone to measure your energies in
time. You're not likely to live by equations. The greatest gift is not being afraid to
The cast of Saint Lucy's Eyes also features Willis Burks II, Toks Olagundoye, Sally A.
Stewart. The designers are Beowulf Borritt (sets), Alvin Perry (costumes), Jane Reisman (lights)
and Michael C. Wimberly (original music/sound).
WPP's first-ever Community Day is slated for Saturday, March 3, with activities for adults and
children ages nine and up, including workshops in playwriting and acting, free tickets to the
matinee and a post-performance talk-back with the artists.
There is also an after-show discussion on Tuesday, April 3rd with the playwright and director.
Women's Project & Productions is the nation's preeminent nonprofit Off-Broadway theatre
company dedicated to producing and developing new plays by women. Founded in 1978 by
Julia Miles, WPP has produced over 100 plays by women playwrights and sponsored almost
400 readings and workshops, featuring a veritable Who's Who of women in American theatre -
playwrights Anna Deavere Smith, Maria Irene Fornes, Emily Mann, Pearl Cleage; actors Mary
McDonnell, Frances Sternhagen, Jayne Atkinson, Deirdre O'Connell, Lizbeth Mackay, Daphne
MY FAIR LADY
starring Jonathan Pryce and Martine McCutcheon, opened Thursday at the NT's Lyttelton
Theatre in London. The production marks the first London revival of the classic musical in 20
years. It's sold out.
DESIGN FOR LIVING written by
Noel Coward in 1932 stars Alan Cumming, Jennifer Ehle and Dominic West. Also featured are
Marisa Berenson, John Cunningham and Jenny Sterling. The Roundabout Theatre Company's
revival is directed by Joe Mantello. Set designer Robert Brill, costume designer Bruce Pask and
lighting designer James Vermeulen. Design for Living, runs through May 13.
AIDA will kick off its
2001-02 America West Airlines Broadway Series at Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix.
Performance dates for the musical, which features music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice,
are Sept. 4-15. Aida won four Tony Awards and a Grammy for the original cast album.
OLD TIMES starring Dee Hoty,
Sam Tsoutsouvas, and Lisa Harrow. Ethan McSweeny directs. Mark Wedland (set), Linda Cho
(costumes), Francis Aronson (lighting) and Christopher J. Bailey (sound)The Harold Pinter
comedy/drama revival began previews last night at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse.
Official opening is March 31 in a run to April 15.
IN THE BLOOD by Suzan
Lori-Parks opens March 23 running through April 8th at Perseverance Theatre, Peter DuBois,
Artistic Director who was singled out by American Theatre Magazine as one of the "15
artists under 30" who will shape the future of American theatre. Jeffrey Herrmann is the
Producing Director. Alaska's largest professional theatre. An artist-driven institution Preservation
Theatre was founded in 1979 in Alaska's capital, Juneau, a community of 30,000 people that is
inaccessible by car. The theatre has since become one of Alaska's leading cultural institutions Past
and present funding for our $700,000 budget has come from the Allen, Nathan Cummings, Ford,
William Randolph Hearst, Kreielsheimer, Andrew W. Mellon, Rasmuson, Rockefeller, and
Shubert Foundations; the Pew Charitable and M.J. Murdock Trusts; the Lila Wallace-Reader's
BOSS GRADY'S BOYS by Irish
born playwright, poet and novelist Sebastian Barry. The production received rave reviews in
Ireland. Boss Grady's Boys is a saga about Mick Grady and his gentle brother
THOMAS TONER and WILLIAM ANDREWS Photo
By: David Cross
They are trapped in their cherished home on a hill in Ireland like the last species of a rare bird.
Fending off the changing world around them they live holed up like outlaws - with the Sheriff on
The production is directed by Ina Marlowe, the producing artistic director of Chicago's Organic
Theater Company, the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award for her direction of A Moon for
the Misbegotten. She has worked closely with Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, Thomas
Babe and with Barry on the Midwest premiere of his The Stewart of Christendom. She
has also directed the American premiere of Billy Roche's Belfry and the Mideast premieres
of David Hare's Amy View, and Racing Demon; Donald Margulies' Collected
Stories, and Harold Pinter's Moonlight.
The cast for Boss Grady's Boys will be headed by Williams Andrews as Mick Grady and
Thomas Toiner as Josie Grady. The cast will also feature: Aklfred Cherry, Kay Michaels, Corliss,
Preston, Marge Skinner, Robert Sonderskov, and Megan Wolf.
Performances begin March 22 at the 78th Street Theatre Lab New York City in association with
the Organic Theatre Company.
JOHN AMOS the delightful actor
who became a household name starring in Good Times, and can currently be seen on
The District and The West Wing, was scheduled to open tonight in his one-man
show Halley's Comet at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, NY. At the
last minute the appearance was canceled. Two weeks ago Amos had knee surgery which didn't
heel as well as expected. So, yesterday, Amos headed back into the hospital for more surgery. Get
MAUREEN McGOVERN AND JOHN PIZZARELLI March 21 at the Macomb Center in Clinton Township, MI March 22 at
the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. March 23 - 24 at Kuss Auditorium - Clark State College
in Springfield, Ohio. March 25 at the Stambaugh Auditorium in
March 26 at the Orr Auditorium -- Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA They are
backed by the John Pizzarelli Trio and the 15-piece Big Band Swing Orchestra
JULIE WILSON performs at the
Algonquin's Oak Room NYC from March 27 through April 21
CHRISTINE ANDREAS returns to
the stage of the Cafe Carlyle, NYC on March 20 in a new show that pays tribute to Broadway's
First Ladies, entitled Here's to the Ladies. Through April 7.
BARBARA COOK will appear in
concert on Sunday, March 25 at the North Miami Beach Performing Arts Theatre, North Miami
LINDA EDER March 22 at the
McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA
PATTI LUPONE performs her
Matters of the Heart show March 20 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ
BACKSTREET BOYS tonight in San
Diego, CA at the San Diego Sports Arena and then on Sunday March 25 in Mexico City, MEX
at Foro Sol
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN March 28 in
Vero Beach, FL at St. Edward's School
WILLIAM FINN will have his songs
showcased by various artists on March 24 at the Lincoln Center Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse,
The Rose Building, NYC. From the Tony Award-winning composer of such smart and tuneful
hits as In Trousers, Falsettos, and A New Brain. Produced by Ira
THIS AND THAT
PAT BOONE'S WHITE BUCK SHOES can be yours. Or, at least a reasonable facsimile. The guy who bragged
about drinking milk before those commercials were ever on anybody's drawing board, and -
turned down a film role with Marilyn Monroe rather than having to kiss a woman who was not
his wife - is passing the bucks.
BOONE refused to kiss MARILYN MONROE
The Love Letters in the Sand singer has been known for his trademark white buck shoes
since he was discovered in the 1950s by legendary broadcaster Arthur Godfrey. Boone still
wears white bucks everywhere. Several hundred pairs have come and gone: some worn out,
grabbed up by collectors or stolen. Frank Sinatra owned a pair and called them his "Boone
Charles Eugene Patrick Boone, will be celebrating his 67th birthday on June 1. Born in
Jacksonville, Florida, Boone grew up in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. In 1953, he married
Shirley Foley, daughter of country star Red Foley
Boone sold more records during the late 50s than any other artist except Elvis Presley. From
1955 to date, only six artists - Presley, the Beatles, James Brown, Elton John , Rolling Stones
and Stevie Wonder - are ranked above him in terms of total singles sales and their relative chart
positions. Boone had a total of 60 hits in the US singles charts during his career, six of which
reached number one.
Now, anyone can have official Pat Boone white bucks for $59.95. Beginning March
26, catalog retailer Blair Corp. will sell the shoes. "People have paid thousands of dollars at
charity auctions for a pair of my white bucks," Boone said. "But I'm thrilled that we found a
great retailer to make these shoes, which, by the way, are extremely comfortable and
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Next Column: March 25, 2001
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