Friday, November 8, 2019

Artistic Rendering

Back before
Meryl Streep, Mia Farrow, and Glenn Close,
there was the Morton Salt Girl, 1956!

Gerry and I on our courthouse wedding day ~ February 3, 1989
A friend said I looked like Mia Farrow in this pic
-- maybe it was the hairstyle?

A decade or so later, my younger son Sam picked up this movie,
looked closely at Glenn Close, and said "Mommy, is this you?"
Once again, was it the hair? Whatever! I'll take it!
Thanks to my friend Robin for inspiring yet another introspective post! Once again she has triggered my memory -- this time asking: "When did you first identify yourself . . . with the visual of a child?" Of course, Robin's original prompt is more thoughtful and intricate than my summary; I'm merely grasping the essence here and responding from popular culture imagery rather than art museum portraiture. Sure, I love all the Morton Salt Girls, but 1956 remains my favorite!

Truly for me, the iconic Morton Salt Girl
of my early childhood sprang first to mind.
For Robin, it has always been this lovely painting:

Miss Beatrice Townsend (1882)
by John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925).
See the resemblance!

You get the idea!

Thinking about Robin's larger question of ethnic identity, I guess I'd have to say: hopelessly American (as in U.S.A.), perhaps as attested to by the Morton Salt Girl herself. Even though I knew all the stories of the various ancestors from Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and so forth, I never thought much beyond being from Kansas.

An interesting connection: the other day I was talking to one of my neighbors here about her unusual surname "Bougher." She said that growing up in Indiana, no one seemed to think much about ethnic heritage, but when she lived in Chicago, people would often ask what she knew about the meaning / source / history of her name. So she went home and asked her dear grandmother, who thought about it for minute, and answered: "Well, Honey, I think we're all from Kansas!"

So iconic! Wizard of Oz and Dorothy Gale!

Thanks to Laura Bougher McLaughlin
for letting me share this anecdote.
I hope I told it right!

It's fun to think of who your art world look alike might be and what that earliest moment of self - other identification might signify about your sense of person and place in our culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment