10 April 2008

small worlds colliding softly

It's such a small world except when it's not. I recently finished reading Dr. Kimball & Mr. Jefferson about Fiske Kimball who wrote a lot on Thomas Jefferson and other early American architects, as well as serving as director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kimball is also the name behind the art library at UVa.

At a lecture last week by John Harris on the destruction of the English country house, Harris talked about Kimball and his acquisition of rooms from country homes as the houses were dismantled in the decades before and after 1900. Now, at the Morgan when I went to grab backlog books to catalog, one of the items was Triumph on Fairmount: Fiske Kimball and the Philadelphia Museum of Art by George and Mary Roberts (Lippincott, 1959) with a clipping inside. The clipping is an editorial by A.F. (probably Alfred Frankfurter from Art news, about 1955) extolling Kimball and entitled "The model of a modern museum director." It ends: "American museums need uncompromising, dictatorial, passionate lovers of art as never before." Hmm.

On the back of the leaf is a page of small reproductions of paintings with horses in them, including Parmigianino's wonderful "St. Paul" which I saw at the Kunsthistorischesmuseum in Vienna a couple years ago. And at the reference desk yesterday, Colin Eisler extolled the virtues of Bobst Library which when he started at NYU (50 years ago) was quite pitiful. I guess the connection of all that is Sharon Chickanzeff, great friend, admirer of Eisler, fellow traveler to Venice, lover of ponies, gifter of scarf before Viennese trip.

2 comments:

nigel fowler said...

Professor Eisler is a wonderful person, but perhaps after fifty years of devoted NYU service his memory, like mine, is not up to elephantine snuff. Therefore I make the following corrective:
Bobst Library opened its revolving doors in 1972 or 1973, and is therefore about thirty-five years old. Hitherto, NYU libraries constituted a series of rabbit warrens situated all over its funky campus, and this is no doubt what Colin Eisler had in mind.

Apologies for the unwarranted pedantry.

shermaniac said...

What good is pedantry WITH warrant?