For mother and grandmother
and all of us who learned to love art at a parents' knee.
Art-related Parts of This Site
In Memory of Nana and Mother
Mother became an English/fine arts major at University of
Chicago in 1928 at the age of 17, studying in the studio of Lorado Taft.
Art was part of our everyday life. She would smooth the beautiful, black Chicago dirt and
draw a few lines - the art deco period, of course - and make me guess what the rest would be.
When we went downtown, we would wander slowly through the city streets as she
pointed out all the wondrous Chicago architecture. Then we'd go to the Art Institute,
where grandmother had studied before she met grandfather, though mother did accuse me of preferring the gift shop.
This book is one of
my earliest memories and became one of those links to mother that I cherish. Before it was mother's, it
was nana's. Her maiden name is written on the inside cover, scratched out and replaced with her
married name. But the paper was cheap, and the book that they left for me is falling apart. So I'll save it here and give it to you.
In memory of mother and grandmother.
Do say 'hi' if you're passing through
From Thoughts While I Can Still Remember
Museums were playgrounds when I was a child|
Hanging my heart on jungle gym bars
Of Renoirs and Rodins and even Matisse
While mother explained the curve of the hip
Of the Buddahs and odalesques playing with me
As we swung from 12th century tapestry
Into the sky of Georgia O'Keefe
And back again laughing in such fine company.
It was here that she studied, my mother explained,
Your grandmother, long before grandpa appeared,
At the Institute's classes of art and design,
Of the lion and the curve and the stroke of the pen.
She studied with Taft, mother said with some pride,
Though the master was gone long before I arrived in my turn,
Now it's yours, to take up the brush
For genetics will conquer in gentle ambush.
This wasn't at all what I wanted to hear
Because I was a scientist, cool-eyed and clear,
From the tips of my fingers that typed at the keys of computers
To firm-planted feet that walked near eyes of heaven
That gazed at Albireo's eyes blinking back blue and gold
In a canvas of black, crying
"I am no artist and I know no verse."
Then I listened to silence that laughed in reverse.
Copyright © 2007, Mary S. Van Deusen