Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You Wanna March? You Can March!

Monday morning began with thunderstorms.  It looked like the Memorial Day Parade would be rained out.  But, minutes before the 10 o'clock start, the rain stopped.  People grabbed their umbrellas and streamed into the streets to watch the parade.  It went on for miles.  Honestly!

Monday, May 30, 2011


Last week, Wethersfield High School played Hall High School.  When I left, Wethersfield was giving Hall an education.  A Wethersfield player is batting here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


This is a portrait of a sidewheeler.  But, what really caught my attention is how well the bench echoes the geometry of the sidewheeler.

The New Britain Museum of American Art commissioned a couple dozen benches from artist-craftsmen, to complement the artwork and to be art themselves.  I think they are very successful.  In time I will show a few more.

If you were wondering about yesterday's photo, here is the building.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Blue

OK.  Figure this one out.  If you can.

It is Friday again, so it is time for folks who like to show their reflecting pictures to do so.  Go to Newtown Area Photo to see more of them.

Click to see the rules and to take a badge for yourself.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Portrait of Madam T

Edmund Tarbell, a Boston artist, painted this portrait of his wife in 1888.  He called it Portrait of Madam T, a puckish reference to an earlier scandalous portrait by John Singer Sargent of a woman with a plunging neckline, which Sargent called Portrait of Madame X.

This painting is in the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art, which offered a dry and pleasant refuge during last week's rainstorms. The blue skies have returned, so I can begin showing outdoor pictures again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Helen and Harry Gray

Harry Gray was a fabulously successful CEO of United Technologies, the biggest company based in greater Hartford.  He died in 2009 at the age of 89, so he had a quarter century after retirement to devote, with his wife Helen, to philanthropy.  There is hardly any educational, cultural or other philanthropic institution in our area that has not received generous gifts from Helen and Harry Gray.

The top photo is one room at the Wadsworth Atheneum for which they were lead funders. 

The smaller photo to the left is the entrance to the Atheneum, also funded by Helen and Harry Gray.  The space features a mural by Sol Lewitt, a Hartford native who was one of the leaders of conceptualism.  Lewitt believed that the important thing about art is the idea, not the execution.  He often had others do the painting, and many of his works are intended to be temporary.

The statue to the left is "Diana," by Hiram Powers.  It sits at the entrance to the space in the top photo.  The reason I included it in today's post is that it was a gift to the Atheneum from J. Pierpont Morgan in 1914.  J. P. Morgan began his business career in Hartford before moving to New York. 

Support of cultural institutions from the captains of industry goes back a long way, to the Medicis and beyond.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There is a museum in Hartford currently holding a very special exhibition by a well known painter who, over 25 years,  painted about 250 large canvases featuring water plants at his garden in France. 

Unfortunately, photography is not permitted at that exhibition.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Venus with a Nymph and Satyr, 1600

This marvelous 500-year old statue stands on a pedestal above a shallow pool in the Avery Court of the Wadsworth Atheneum.  I often take a picture of labels, to remind me about the details when it comes time to post an image.  Instead of paraphrasing from this label myself, you can read for yourselves by clicking to enlarge it.
I visited the Wadsworth recently, in part to see the Monet "Water Lilies" exhibition before it leaves Hartford in mid-June.  Photography is normally permitted throughout the museum, so long as no flash is used, but unfortunately the Monet "Water Lilies" exhibition prohibits photographs.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Elizabeth Park: Decline of the Tulips

Here is the Annual Garden at Elizabeth Park, which I am going to be showing through the year.  The top one is from Wednesday and the small one is the scene I showed two weeks ago.   On Wednesday the tulips were mostly gone.
These flower plots will probably be given a little rest before the bulbs are pulled out and the Annual Garden is replanted.  I will be back.  Meanwhile, I will show other parts of the park.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch

I showed Hartford's Sailors' and Soldiers' Arch last year, but fewer of you were looking at this blog in those days.  It is one of Hartford's iconic images, so I expect that my eye and camera will be drawn to it again.

This was shot a week ago, before the rains came . . .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Reflections: A Wet Sampler

There was no shortage of rainy reflections this week.  Here are some.

On Fridays you can see photographs featuring reflections by clicking here to see the group hosted by James at Newtown Area Photo.  Let's hope that many of them were shot in the sunshine!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities

This handsome cat shares space with notables at the Old State House's museum, which I described earlier.

I have an inside shot today because we have had interminable, drenching, miserable rain for days.  And the forecast is for it to continue deep into the weekend.  Blah!  I'm going to Florida for a few days in the sunshine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Perennial Garden

From the Rock Garden in Elizabeth Park, I am looking into the Perennial Garden.  The central feature of the Perennial Garden is a stately gazebo, a favorite spot for summer weddings and other gatherings.  It is too early for many of the perennials to emerge from their winter rest, so I will return later.

The tree on the right is a Pyramidal European Hornbeam.  I know this only because I took a tree identification tour of the park on Saturday, which I featured yesterday.  We were told that this tree has a much more spreading habit than is normal, showing the benefit of having planted it in a place with plenty of room.  Isn't it graceful?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tree Tour

On Saturday, Ed Richardson led a tour of about 60 people around Elizabeth Park while Ed pointed out the notable trees in the park.  Ed calls himself a volunteer tree spotter and he is a leader of the Notable Tree Committee of the Connecticut Botanical Society.   Elizabeth Park was donated to the City of Hartford by Charles and Elizabeth Pond in 1902.  Fredrick Law Olmstead had a hand in laying out the park.  Many of the big trees in the park were planted in the first few years that the city owned the park.
The tree the group is looking at, however, is only about 50 years old.  It is a rare Dawn Redwood, planted around 1960.  It is already 100 feet high and Richardson estimates that it will grow to about 200 feet.

If the woman with the red hat in the center turned around, she would have the view from which I have been shooting the Annual Garden here, here and here

Monday, May 16, 2011


This sculpture by Hartford artist Karen Petersen stands near the pond in Elizabeth Park.  It was funded by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, which is responsible for much of the new public art installed around here in the past decade.

Sedna is said to be the goddess of the sea and marine animals in Inuit mythology.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Praises of Zion

First Cathedral is a huge Baptist congregation in Bloomfield, Connecticut, a town immediately to the north of Hartford. 

The Rev. Dr. LeRoy Bailey, Jr., is celebrating his 40th year leading the congregation.  When Dr. Bailey became pastor in 1970, the congregation's membership was 60.  Today the congregation numbers about 11,000 and is New England's largest Baptist congregation.  The congregation moved into its current 120,000 square foot edifice in Bloomfield in 1999.  I haven't yet taken a picture of the cathedral that I like, but I will keep trying.

First Cathedral has a wonderful music program.  Praises of Zion is the church's award-winning gospel choir.  I recently visited the church while the choir was rehearsing for a concert later that evening.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This statue of Justice was mounted atop the cupola of Hartford's Old State House in 1827.  It has suffered a lot of damage from exposure to harsh New England winters. 

Today a fiberglass replica stands in her place.  The original Justice has a more comfortable location inside, on the second floor of the Old State House.

(Blogger has lost 30 - 40 of your comments from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday afternoon.  Even though they no longer show up here, I did read most of them before they disappeared, and I appreciated them.  Thank you.) 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Birches

It is Friday again.  For more reflections, visit Newtown Area Photo.

Click to see the rules and to take a badge for yourself.

(Sorry that I was out of contact yesterday and through noon today,
along with others who use Blogger.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Street Painting

Last week was United Arts Week in Hartford, sponsored by the Greater Hartford Arts Council.  There were events everywhere, every day, all day.  On Thursday, artist Tao LaBossiere marked an outline on the brick walkway of the Old State House.  People were invited to grab a paintbrush and have a go at painting it.  Or painting whatever else they wanted to paint.  I stopped by for a while.
At this time of year, there are so many things happening, it is hard to get to all of them.  That is a good thing.