Thank You My Lifelong Afternoon

Thanksgiving, 2017

 

 

Variation on a Theme

W.S. Merwin,  born 1927, American poet

 

The poet, now 90 and widowed, has written many poems of thanks.  Even though one would not call him overall an optimist.

 



Thank you my lifelong afternoon

 

 

 

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late in this season that has no age

 

 

 

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Ericksons, 1973, tempera on hardboard panel, Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2007, American.  Loaned by a private collection to the Brandywine River Museum, 2017

 

 

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Portrait of my Grandmother (Emily Motley), 1922, oil on canvas.  Archibald J. Motley, Jr., 1891-1981, American.  Baltimore Museum of Art

 

 

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New England Woman, 1885, oil on canvas.  Cecilia Beaux,  1855-1942, American. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

 

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Eleven’Clock News and details, tempera on panel, 1966.  George A. Weymouth, 1936-2016, American.  Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

 

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Archaic Memory, 1988, acrylic on canvas.  Fred Danziger, American born 1948. State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg

 

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Fanny/Fingerpainting, 1985, oil on canvas.  Chuck Close, American born 1940.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Chillin’, clay, wall paint, acrylic paint.  Susan Strassberg on exhibit at the Clay Studio, Philadelphia in 2015

 

 

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Man in a Cafe, 1912, oil on canvas.  Juan Gris, 1887-1927, Spanish.  Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

 

thank you for my windows above the rivers

 

 

 

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The Schuylkill at its last weir before its confluence with the Delaware River, Philadelphia.  October 2017

 

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The Brandywine River at Breck’s Mill, Greenville, Delaware, 2017

 

 

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The Brandywine River at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 2017

 

 

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Darby Creek near its headwaters, Waterloo Mills Preserve, Chester and Delaware counties, Pennsylvania, 2017

 

 

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The Wissahickon at the Morris Arboretum, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 2017

 

 

 

 

thank you for the true love you brought me to when it was time at last 

 

 

 

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     Man and Woman, 1926, oil on canvas.  Rufino Tamayo, 1899-1991, Mexican.  Philadelphia Art Museum                                                                  

 

 

 

                                        and for words

 

 

 

 

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The Writer, 1925, oil on cardboard.  Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, 1896-1971, Mexican.  Private Collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016

 

 

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 Girl Writing, 1941, oil on canvas.  Milton Avery, 1885-1965.  Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

 

 

 

that come out of silence and take me by surprise

 

 

 

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Self-Portrait, 1922, oil on canvas.   Adolfo Best Maugard, 1891-1964.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016

 

 

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The Reader, c. 1660s, oil on canvas.  Eglon van der Neer, 1635/36-1703, Dutch.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

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Interior with a Young Girl Reading, 1905-06, oil on canvas.  Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French.  MOMA, NY

 

 

 

and have carried me through the clear day

without once turning to look at me

 

 

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Sailing in the Mist, 1890’s, oil on canvas.  John H. Twachtman, 1853-1902, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

thank you for friends and long echoes of them

 

 

 

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Round Dance, 1909, oil on canvas.  Emil Nolde, 1867-1956, German.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Two Girls, c. 1892, oil on canvas.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919, French.  Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

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Black Girl Dragging White Girl, 1992, oil and charcoal on canvas.  Kim Dingle, American born 1951.  Corcoran Collection at the National Gallery of Art

 

 

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Vignette IV, 2005, acrylic on PVC panel.

Kerry James Marshall, American born 1955.  Loaned to an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, NY in 2016 by Susan and Lew Manilow.

 

 

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Wapping on Thames, oil on canvas, 1860’s.  James McNeil Whistler, 1834-1903, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Conversation in a Garden, late 1960s, ink on paper.  Eileen Goodman, American born 1937.  Exhibited at The Woodmere Museum in 2016

 

 

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Three Girls, 1941, oil and pencil on wood panel.  William H. Johnson, 1901-1970,  American.  MOMA, NY

 

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 My Friends, and detail, oil on canvas, 1887.  Viggo Johansen, 1851-1935, Danish. Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

 

 

and for those mistakes that were only mine

 

 

 

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 Crouching Statuette of Adam, 1896, plaster. Paul Wayland Bartlett, 1865-1925.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art

 

 

for the homesickness that guides the young plovers

 

 

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Deer in Sunset, oil on canvas, 1946. Karl Knaths, 1891-1941, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

 

 

from somewhere they loved before

 

 

 

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Details of Deer in Sunset  oil on canvas, 1946. Karl Knaths, 1891-1941, American.  The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

 

 

they woke into it to another place

they loved before they ever saw it

 

 

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Bird’s House, 1989, varnish and watercolour on white Strathmore paper.  Jamie Wyeth, American born 1946. Private collection on display at the Brandywine River Museum, Chaddsford, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

thank you whole body and hand and eye

 

 

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Self Portrait, 1921, oil on canvas.  David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1896-1974, Mexican.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016

 

 

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Self-portrait in Velvet, 1926, oil on canvas.  Frieda Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexican.  Exhibited in the winter of 2016 at the Philadelphia Art Museum. 

 

Frieda Kahlo’s body, of course, was not whole for most of her life.

It was touched first by childhood polio and then by a catastrophic bus accident when she was still a teenager. This broke her spine, pelvis, collarbone, ribs.  She died at 47 after a life of intermittent, great pain. 

Eight days before her death she added words to a painted melon: her fealty to life lived creatively and with passion:

 

Viva la Vida Watermelons, 1952-54, oil on masonite.  Frieda Kahlo, 1907-54, Mexican.  Frieda Kahlo Museum,  Coyoacan, Mexico

 

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Three Women at the Spring, 1921, oil on canvas.  Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish.  MOMA, NY

 

 

 

 

thank you for sights and moments known

 

 

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Detail of a painting in progress, oil on canvas,  2017.  Angela Valeria, friend, mother and grandmother of friends, Brooklyn, NY

 

only to me who will not see them again

except in my mindʻs eye where they have not changed

 

 

 

 

thank you for showing me the morning stars

 

 

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Updraft, 1976, acrylic on canvas.  Edna Wright Andrade, 1917-2008, American.  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington

 

 

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Peinture 130 x 89 cm, 6 Mars 1955,  oil on canvas.  Pierre Soulages, French, born 1919.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

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Icarus from Jazz, 1947, pochoir.  Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Deep Sky, 1984, aquatints.  James Turrell, American light architect and artist, born 1943.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Shooting Stars, 1952, glass, casein, and tempera on Masonite.  Irene Rice Pereira, 1902-1971, American.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Two sheets of painted, fluted glass sitting in front of a painted panel.  The composition changes depending where you stand and how much ambient light there is.

 

 

 

 

 

and for the dogs who are guiding me

 

 

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On the Desert, before 1867, oil on panel.  Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1824-1904, French.  Baltimore Art Museum

 

 

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DSC01118 Gimme Shelter, mural on Lombard Street between 12th and 13th Streets, Philadelphia, designed and painted by David Guinn in 2004 for the City of Philadelphia Mural Program

 

 

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Girl and the Field, 2017, oil and acrylic on canvas.  Graham Preston, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

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