Yes, there’s a group for that, too. Syl’s is best.
Roz sent me this after she and Richard B. met for the first time even in Philly….
June Huitt, who I met in the Goodman Theater writing class at the Senior center, wrote this piece about this James C. Magee painting.
One evening many years ago, I was walking with my friend Margaret on Michigan Avenue just north of the river, and we passed a balloon seller with a giant bouquet of balloons bobbing above his head. Suddenly she dashed over to him and came back, flushed and giddy, with the balloons now hovering above her head. “I’ve always wanted to buy all the balloons,” she said triumphantly. I was shocked. We were young and poor and forever counting our pennies. I was horrified at what that moment’s impulse had cost her—and just for an armful of balloons.
This year at the Art and Antiques Show, I stopped at the booth of a gallery I liked. Over time I had bought from this gallery several pieces of art that stretched my budget, and each time I had lingered in front of a small American Impressionist painting of women washing clothes in a creek—a piece well outside my budget. And here it was again. I walked up and down the aisles, then back to the booth, and I bought it. It was the height of imprudence. The Great Recession had not been kind to me. I had a financial outflow that exceeded my income, and now I had depleted my tiny nest egg. And yet, here in my very own living room, for me to look at whenever I chose, was a painting I had been yearning after for three years.
For months it appeared that this painting would be my companion as I skidded to financial ruin. But wait! It looks like I have some work coming in. Today I look at my painting of green trees and a creek bank with women bending over their work, and I can’t help thinking that the rewards of prudence are mighty thin compared to the rewards of imprudence. And what should now float into my mind but a 40-year-old memory of balloons.
James C. Magee was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1846, although the majority of his career was spent in Philadelphia, where he died in 1924. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1896-1902. Then in New York he studied under William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League, and with Robert Henri in Paris. Magee became an accomplished Impressionist painter, exhibiting and winning numerous awards at the major institutions of his day.
I talked to Margo about going to Paris. Her husband doesn’t like Paris! I think we may go! She speaks French!
When we were very young, Margo went to Paris to study Semiotics (remember that ? No one studies Semiotics any more) and I stayed in her tiny apartment in a suburb of Paris. This is the view from the window. Every morning she ran out and got me a fresh croissant and made marvelous coffee. In return I listened to her read from her journal.. Quel bargain! Somewhere I have a photo of her nicoise salad, a thing of beauty and a joyful memory.