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Rachel Cohen

spring (3)

Liz Magor at Passover

Sunday, March 28, 2021

I have been twisting myself toward spring cleaning. My right hip and lower back aren’t what they were. It is hard to get a clear mind, and the house is encrusted with the layers of our going through this year. On my desk, the notebooks with promising scraps of ideas are buried beneath an avalanche of the undone tasks of several years. Books are everywhere, as are the children’s projects, stiffened clay, half-sewn dinosaurs, still unstuffed. A metal model tower that didn’t work out awaits an uncertain fate in one of the myriad little white dishes we [...] more

Pissarro in March, in memory of Richard Brettell

Sunday, March 21, 2021

In 1897, Shrove Tuesday fell in March, and, in Paris, the annual Mardi Gras parade came down the Boulevard Montmartre on a blustery day. At a window overlooking the Boulevard, Camille Pissarro waited, brushes at the ready. The previous month, in February, he had begun an ambitious project, which would result in sixteen paintings of the Boulevard Montmartre, showing winter giving way to spring. Pissarro painted in the mornings, the afternoons, and the evenings; he painted in snow, rain, and the rare sunshine; he painted grey, and, when it came at last, he painted green. And he [...] more

Japanese Influence: Arthur Wesley Dow

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

At my parents’ home in Ann Arbor as spring was arriving, I had a few minutes in the University of Michigan art museum.  I was surprised by a painting of Arthur Wesley Dow’s – very lovely, and very Japanese in its loveliness. The wall text said that, in 1891, a year before he painted this picture, Dow had made a visit to the Boston Public Library, where he saw Japanese woodblock prints for the first time.  “One evening with Hokusai,” he said, “gave me more light on composition and decorative effect than years of study [...] more