Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Listening at the Monteleone viii: iron lace

Walker Evans placed himself in a
window of his apartment in Paris
in 1923 for this self-portrait.
Find me. Answer me, are implica-
tions of these projects in men,
so far as I know, having created
such a thing - published above -
using one's shadow on a sunstruck
terrace on Telegraph Hill. 

We notice the same thing in what
we collect, so far as I know; but
what of the collections assembled
for us by the generations before?
The other day, I encountered an
etching in a box in my basement,
of iron lace -- balconies framed
in wrought iron, prefiguring Wil-
San Francisco -- by the merchant
artist Morris Henry Hobbs, whose
works in New Orleans in the first
half of the last century lent him
a certain renown for sentiment.

On seeing it, I supposed it had
been collected by my grandmother,
whose memory launched this series
from the Monteleone. My research
ruled out this possibility, as
she predeceased this creation by
several years. It would have been
purchased by her mother, or by
mine, either of them reinforcing
in their way, the friendship with
a family in New Orleans, of whom
a visit she paid them would hold
great relevance, by descent, to 
both of her survivors.

I have my own friends in New Or-
leans now, a young couple of ca-
pacity for enjoying the world of
their time, to whom I thought to
send this along. You see the mis-
take before I did; you see the
power of inherited custom, more
than of inheritance, per se, be-
fore I did. One, two, possibly
three ladies from whom I'm des-
cended acquired this etching to
delight themselves in friendship.

Plopped here, upon a spontaneous
nail in the wall, the etching e-
licits a smile of remembrance of
the present, even of the perme-
ability of the past. It may be,
in a way, a strand of their lace.

Find me.
Answer me.


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