Delaware Art Museum opens show of 100 French prints

Courtesy photo Steichen's "Pears" at the Delaware Art Museum.

Thanks to the interest in collecting by Michael Mattis, a former Los Alamos lab physicist, and his wife Judith Hochberg, their extensive collection is now valued at over $5 million for this collection they began when they were both graduate students at Stanford.

Called “The French Twist,” these photos are concentrated on the work of a small group of photographers who were friends and who promoted one another’s work. They were a somewhat inbred group as the drifted from Surrealism to Modernism and New with influence from the Dadaists and Cubists. Not only that, the artists moved easily from group to group, knowing Gertrude Stein James Joyce and Max Ernst. Dora Maar, a photographer in her own right, who taught Hungarian photographer Brassai how to etch a photographic negative, was Picasso’s girl friend and also the muse of Man Ray.

This period of time from 1910 to 1940 was called the Belle Epoque or beautiful era in Paris, which seems a little strange as there was a World War going on. The photographers during this beautiful era mostly concentrated on photographing many of the less appealing aspects of Paris life, concentrating on broken down buildings, prostitutes, thugs who robbed one after their picture was taken, and street scenes.

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The shop begins with Atglen, whose sometimes blurred architectural scenes supposedly are deliberate. His work was touted by his neighbor Man Ray who shot nudes for advertisements. The works of Henri Cartier-Bresson, known as the master of the “decisive moment” are outstanding. Two of his are exquisite. One is of trees in winter with a man wearing a long cape who has just turned around as the camera clicked. The other is a shot of a curving metal stairway with a bicycle going by at just the perfect moment. Another favorite by him was taken on the coronation of King George VI after his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson. Ignoring the royalty, Brisson took a marvelous photo of the people who camped out on the royal route, with one of them still sound asleep in the street. Bresson was believed dead after spending three years in a Nazi prison camp during World War II. Luckily he was discovered to be still alive.

There are several other photographers in the show that you might like better, but these photos were my favorites. The show will run through Sept. 15.

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The Board of the Kennett Symphony of Chester County has chosen the final three conductors who will audition for the position of music director-conductor of the symphony. When word went out that Maesta Mary Woodmansee Green was retiring from the symphony after 25 years, the board received over 100 applications for the position, the final three have been selected.

Each finalist will conduct one concert, playing music that he/she has selected. The new conductor will be chosen with input from the board, the musicians and the audiences. The conductor chooses the music that is to be played at a concert. The three conductors have already chosen the music for his/her concert. The conductor who will lead the September concert will be Michael Hall, who has been guest conductor with many top orchestras including the Houston Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, numerous orchestras in Central America and the Tucson Symphony. He created original scripts for innovative family concerts for Pacific Symphony in California for six years and has just complete five years as music director with Southwest Florida Symphony and has won numerous competitions in Europe.

The Holiday Concert will be led by Rei Hotoda, who was born in Tokyo and started piano at age 3. Praised for her “meticulous ear for detail and gestural language” she won the Take Concordia Conducting Fellowship in 2006. She has been guest conductor with numerous orchestras including Toronto, Baltimore, Colorado, Fort Worth, Duluth, She was assistant conductor for the Dallas Symphony, with Winnipeg Symphony for three years and for the 2005 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. Hotoda is an advocate of new music and has championed and recorded works by female composers including Jennifer Higdon, Vivian Fung and Nicole Lizee. She received her bachelor of music in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music, completed her doctorate of music arts in piano performance at the University of Southern California and studied conducting with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute.

David Alexander Rahbee, is currently the artist-in-residence at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle and serves as the conductor for the University Orchestra and teaches conducting, will conduct the March concert. He is the recipient of the American-Austrian Foundation’s 2003 Herbert Von Karajan Fellowship for Young Conductors, the 2005 International Richard Wagner-Verband Stipend and a fellowship from the Acanthes Centre in Paris in 2007. He has appeared in concert with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Orchestre Philaharmonique du Luxembourg, Kammerphilharmonie Berlin-Brandenburg, Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary). He has served as an assistant at the at the Vienna State opera. He has a bachelor of music degree in violin and composition from Indiana University, and a master of music from the New England Conservatory in orchestral conducting.

You won’t want to miss any one of the concerts to experience three different styles of conducting.

Tim Conway

That brilliant comedian legendary Tim Conway, well known for his 11-year run on The Carol Burnett Show, will present The Tim Conway Show at the DuPont Theatre on Saturday, Aug. 24. With him will be impressionist Louis de Duart who can hold conversations with Whoopee Goldberg, Edith Bunker, Barbara Walters and others. The two comedy veterans toured together with the late Harvey Korman for eight years, selling out theatres and casinos across the country. Tickets begin at $52 from 302-656-4401. Use the event password Conway.

Art

The Longwood Art Gallery has what sounds like a fascinating with their show opening Friday, July 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. They have gathered a collection of paintings done in a contemporary manner by local, regional and national artists. Music by The Ladeens will add to the ambiance. The show runs through the month of July.

Robotics

The 4-H Robotics Camp has been so popular they will hold a second one July 15-19 through Penn State Extension. The camp will be held 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the West Grove United Methodist Church, 300 N. Guernsey Road, West Grove. Because they have a grant, the camp is free. It is designed for children who have completed the fourth through eighth grades. Campers will learn basic construction techniques, simple programming skills and how to use various sensors. The week will end with an exciting Sumo Wrestling Lego Robots competition. Please register at 610-696-3500.

Scam

There are so many scams out there, but I just had a new one. I had an e-mail from a friend that said:

“I’m in some terrible and horrible situation. I’m stuck in Manila, Philippines. I was on a short vacation. Unfortunately I was mugged at gun point last night. All cash, including credit card and phone was stolen away. I have been to the embassy and the police here, but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves pretty soon from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. Please be so kind to reply back so I can tell you what to do and how to get some cash to us.”

She belongs to the same writer’s/artist’s organization I do. I soon discovered all the members had received the same e-mail. We all thought it was phony. The wording did not have the cadence of the way she usually speaks, her husband is not well enough to travel, and we knew that she supposedly was driving to the Midwest to visit family. Obviously her computer has been compromised and he has all our addresses too. Bah, humbug!

Grant

The Brandywine Conservancy that has been working for more than 45 years to clean up the headwater of the Brandywine which is the source of drinking water for more than 500,000 people in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Du Pont Co. has just given them a $10,000 grant to improve the quality of the water in Honey Brook Township. In a unique bi-state partnership the Conservancy worked with the City of Wilmington on its recent Source Water Protection Plan. We are so lucky to have the Conservancy working for our benefit every day.

Weathervanes

On Wednesday, July 10, Assistant Curator Amanda C. Burdan at the Brandywine River Museum will discuss the variety of forms popular in this country on weathervanes that have been on display at the museum. She will also discuss the finishes on the vanes matter of authenticity. The talk will be at 2 p.m.

Adults

The Brandywine River Museum will hold its last adult art class on July 17 called “Landscape Inspiration.” Held from 7 to 9 p.m., the course invites adults to view Rockwell Kent/Wyeth and Monhegan exhibit and then capture some of the Brandywine landscape in water colors. Cost of $20 covers all materials. Register online or by phone at 610-388-8326.

Beethoven

The Beat Beethoven 5K Run, 1 mile walk to benefit the Kennett Symphony of Chester County on July 18 will actually have “Beethoven running the course.” As the course ends at the site where it begins, you are bound to see him. The point is to do the course in 32 minutes, which is how long the 5th Symphony runs. If you reach the finish line and do not hear music, you didn’t make it in 32 minutes.

It will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Radley Run Country Club, 1100 Country Club Road, West Chester, just off Route 926. Go to www.kennettsymphony.org to register for the run. The cost is $25 in advance and $29 on the day of.

Run

It’s Farce time at Hedgerow Theatre in Media. For the 12th year they are offering a farce by Ray Cooney. “Run For Your Wife” has a London cabbie whose erratic work schedule has made it possible for him to have two wives who live only a few miles from one another. His live is joyous until he is mugged and ends up in the hospital. Now he has to keep them from discovering one another from a hospital bed. This farce will run from July 11 to Aug. 18. For tickets and times call 610-565-4211.

‘Hair’

The Media Theatre will return to the 60’s from July 12 to Aug. 11, when they will produce their version of “Hair” that spouts about the Age of Aquarius. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m.; Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. For tickets call 610-891-0100.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.