Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Torn in Transit

Yesterday, Erica's blog post got me thinking. Nothing out of the ordinary in that. But it also made me remember. I remembered the first piece of art that really spoke to me--this piece. It's called Torn in Transit, by John Haberle (1890). I saw it at a local art museum, the Brandywine River Museum, when I was growing up. I didn't know much about art; I still don't. I didn't know if it was 'good' or not. But it spoke to me. Haunted me. I couldn't keep my eyes from it. I'd try to leave the room to see other paintings, but it called me back. I wanted to keep it--to own it--but alas, there were no postcards of it at the museum. And now, here it is.

In Erica's post, she posed the question: Is art a conversation?

I thought of the conversation that I had with this painting, over fifteen years ago. And I thought about what I'm writing now, and I realized that this painting is there, in that writing. Not literally, of course--but the idea of why this painting fascinated me is in my writing. And yet, I didn't remember this painting at all, until I read Erica's blog post. And the best thing? This painting will be in Connecticut in the beginning of December, at the New Britain Museum of American Art. I don't have to trek back to PA. It's traveling to me. Coincidence, I think not.

Continue the conversation. What art has inspired, questioned, stretched you? Anyone want to road trip to Connecticut?


  1. Brandywine has Andrew Wyeth. One of these days . . .

  2. Yes, a many Wyeths at the Brandywine. Funny enough, I went from seeing Wyeth paintings in PA to seeing Weyth paintings in ME (where I went to college). Good stuff.

  3. I can't begin to name all the books that have inspired, questioned and stretched me.

    But other art: There is a print by Winslow Homer of a man in a row boat in heavy seas and everytime I see it, it moves me, evokes a feeling of possibility or adventure. I used to have a copy of it but don't anymore. Maybe I'll try to find one. It really made and continues to make an impression on me.

  4. Paul, I imagine that the images you see in Alaska are like art in and of themselves. I would love to see the Winslow Homer print. I am an absolute sucker for anything involving boats and the ocean.

  5. I can see why this piece spoke to you. I see tantalizing hints of stories suggested by the "torn" wrapping, mail stickers, as well as the partially revealed picture underneath.

  6. Hi Stephanie, welcome. Yes, my brain goes in many directions at once when I see this painting. I'm glad you saw something too.