Fats Waller: Born May 21, 1904

Waller, Fats (21 May 1904-15 Dec. 1943), jazz and popular pianist, singer, and songwriter, was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City, the son of Edward Martin Waller, a Baptist preacher, and Adeline Lockett. From age six Waller was devoted to the piano but initially failed to practice properly or learn to read music well, because he could memorize lessons immediately. In his youth he also played reed organ in church. He studied piano, string bass, and violin at P.S. 89, which he attended to about age fourteen or fifteen. Although his girth had earned him a nickname by this time, the names Thomas and Fats appeared interchangeably (and sometimes together, as Thomas “Fats” Waller) in his professional work until at least 1931. Later in his career, and posthumously, the nickname prevailed.

Intermittently from 1919 into the mid-1920s he played organ at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem. After his mother’s death in 1920, he moved in with the family of pianist Russell Brooks, who introduced Waller to James P. Johnson. Upon discovering that Waller had learned “Carolina Shout” from Johnson’s piano roll, Johnson offered Waller piano lessons and in turn introduced him to Willie “the Lion” Smith, whom Waller replaced at Leroy’s saloon. Johnson, Smith, and Waller became the leading figures in the jazz style that came to be called stride piano, and through the decade their improvisational competitions were a fixture of Harlem rent parties.
http://www.anb.org/articles/18/18-01201.html

Norma Bassett Hall, American printmaker: Born May 21, 1889

NBHOne

Norma Bassett Hall was an American woodblock printmaker who often depicted landscapes and outdoor scenes. She was born in Halsey, Oregon. In 1910, she become a member of the inaugural class of the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon. After leaving Portland, she briefly taught in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before continuing her education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1915-1918. She also studied privately with the noted British printmaker Mabel Royds, who introduced Norma to the Japanese method of printing woodcuts on rice paper with transparent watercolors. While studying at the SAIC, Norma Bassett met and would later NBHTwomarry Arthur William Hall, a fellow student and artist. Following their marriage, they made their home in Kansas, becoming deeply involved with the state’s flourishing printmaking culture and helping to found the Prairie Print Makers. Hall, the only female among the group’s eleven charter members, designed their distinctive logo, a monogram set within a stylized sunflower. Hall and her husband divided their time and subjects between the rolling hills of Kansas and the dramatic vistas of New Mexico. In 1944 the couple permanently relocated to New Mexico, living first in Santa Fe and eventually purchasing an estate near Alcade from which they operated an art school. Bassett Hall continued to work and teach from their estate until her death in 1957. ~Wikipedia

 

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art~
http://jsma.uoregon.edu/jordan-schnitzer-museum-art-opens-first-solo-exhibition-norma-bassett-hall-1957
Biography~ http://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Norma_Bassett_Hall.html
Artnet~ http://www.artnet.com/artists/norma-bassett-hall/past-auction-results

“Curator’s Pick: Favorite Item from the Alice 150 Exhibit”

UMD Special Collections & University Archives

I haven’t counted, but I would guess that at least 10% of people who meet me ask if I play basketball. I haven’t.But when you are almost 6′ tall, that’s a fair question.Jabberwocky1

It might seemsurprising then that someone who cannot dribble to save her life might choose Christopher Myer’s Jabberwocky, the Classic Poem from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found Thereas her favorite item in the Alice 150 exhibit. But I have my reasons. Myers’brilliant recreation Carroll’s most famous poem as a pick-up basketball game is visually engrossing and thought provoking and hisstriking illustrationspulse with energy. Myers uses his original illustrations in tandem with Carroll’s original poem to create a “Jabberwock” who is the towering king of an urban basketball court…up until now!The oversize, oddly shaped and multicolored font sprawls across the page in between large, fiery-eyed players who seem as if they are somehow…

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Gertrude Käsebier: Born May 18, 1852

GertrudeKasebier

Gertrude Käsebier was a leading member of the pioneering photographic known as Pictorialism, which emphasized a subjective, painterly approach to photography rather than a documentary one.  

Kasebier1Though she had long been interested in art, Käsebier only began her formal training at the Pratt Institute after her children entered high school. She planned to be a painter, but eventually switched to photography. Following classes in Paris and apprenticeships with a German photographic chemist, and a Brooklyn portrait photographer, Käsebier opened her own portrait studio in 1897.
http://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/gertrude-k%C3%A4sebierKasebier2

Stieglitz included Käsebier as a founding member of the Photo-Secession, a group that argued for a more natural, less manipulated photograph. In 1899, he published five of her photos, declaring her “beyond dispute, the leading artistic portrait photographer of the day.”
GKhttp://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/05/12/nearly-forgotten-mother-of-modern-american-photography-gertrude-kaeseb

Library of Congress Biographical Essay: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/womphotoj/kasebieressay.html
Library of Congress Online Catalog: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/related/?fi=name&q=K%C3%A4sebier%2C%20Gertrude%2C%201852-1934
Shorpy Photo Gallery: http://www.shorpy.com/gertrude-kasebier-photographs

Tamara de Lempicka~ Born May 16, 1898(?)


Who was she? De Lempicka shuffled the facts of her biography much as she  meddled with her birth date.


Her time was the 1920s: a period of transition, an era in which functionalism merged with fantasy and formal social structures lurched into the frenetic. In essence, De Lempicka was a classicist, having admired Renaissance painting since her adolescent travels in Italy. But she astutely combined traditional portraiture with advertising techniques, photographic lighting, vistas of the tower architecture of great cities.

The political terrors of Europe in the 1930s were impinging…In 1939, urged by Tamara, who was partly Jewish, Kuffner sold his estates in Hungary and they moved to the US. In New York, she tried abstract expressionism unsuccessfully, and was reduced to the role of a chic curiosity, “the painting baroness”.
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2004/may/15/art

http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/10/24/reviews/991024.24vincent.html
http://culture.pl/en/artist/tamara-lempicka-tamara-de-lempicka

Richard Avedon: May 15, 1923-Oct 1, 2004

Mr. Avedon revolutionized the 20th-century art of fashion photography, imbuing it with touches of both gritty realism and outrageous fantasy and instilling it with a relentlessly experimental drive. So great a hold did Mr. Avedon’s fashion photography come to have on the public imagination that when he was in his 30’s he was the inspiration for Dick Avery, the fashion photographer played by Fred Astaire in the 1957 film “Funny Face.” In 1978 he appeared on the cover of Newsweek while a retrospective exhibition of his work was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
https://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/02/obituaries/richard-avedon-the-eye-of-fashion-dies-at-81.html

MoMA Collection~ http://www.moma.org/collection/artists/248?=undefined&page=1
International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum~ http://www.iphf.org/hall-of-fame/richard-avedon/

American Masters~ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/richard-avedon-about-the-photographer/467/
The Richard Avedon Foundation~ http://www.theavedonfoundation.net/

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Nora Clench~ May 6, 1867-May 17, 1938

World renowned violinist Nora Clench was a child prodigy, born Esther Leonora Clench in what is now Ontario, Canada. Nora made her debut as a violinist at the age of 8. When she was fifteen she entered the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany, and after graduating in 1889 she became first violinist and leader of an orchestra in Buffalo, New York. She later toured Europe and eventually moved to London. In 1900 Clench temporarily gave up playing the violin in order to go to Paris to paint. When she returned to music she founded the all-female “Nora Clench Quartet”, which played a prominent role in the music of fin de siecle London.  Clench again retired from the violin in 1908, at the age of 41, when she married the Australian landscape painter Arthur Streeton. The Nora Clench Quartet continued without her. In 1923, the Streeton family moved to Australia. In 1937 Streeton was given a knighthood for his services to fine art, and Clench became Lady Streeton.  Nora Clench died in Australia in 1938; her husband died in September 1943 after a long illness. The couple’s property with its house, studio and cottage, in 5 acres of garden, remains in the ownership of the Streeton family today.

Biography & Photos~
http://www.riversidestmarys.biz/2015/05/14/story-of-nora-clench/
Program of her farewell appearance~ https://archive.org/details/cihm_36309


Nude Study (1903) attributed to Nora Clench

Rudolph Valentino: Born May 6, 1895

While in New York during the spring of 1923, Rudolph Valentino paid a visit to the Brunswick studios and recorded two songs. El Relicario in Spanish and The Kashmiri Song in English. According to legend, Valentino recorded these songs for his new bride, Natacha Rambova since they had recently wed after a few very tense years of legal difficulties concerning Valentino’s divorce from Jean Acker.
It was reported that after he heard his voice, he quipped “There goes my opera career!
https://www.popsike.com/19231926-Rudolph-Valentino-SingsKashmiri-Love-SongEl-Relicario-78rpm-Record/200783413331.html

May 4, 1970~ Tragedy at Kent State

NYTRead the full text of The Times article:
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0504.html

This link is to a “collection…of photographs and contact sheets produced by University News Service (now University Communications and Marketing) before, during, and after the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State University. The first photographs were taken on April 30 to May 3, 1970. This group consists of a small number of photos. The bulk of the photographs were taken on May 4, 1970. Other photographs include events immediately after the shootings and some annual commemorations.” http://www.library.kent.edu/university-news-service-photographs-may-1-4-1970

Documenting the May 1970 Kent State Shootings
https://www.library.kent.edu/special-collections-and-archives/kent-state-shootings-may-4-collection