Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Annotated Nexus - Page 8

As mentioned in my previous Nexus posting, I'll be following the actual printed page numbers after page one, as opposed to the total number of written pages. So, Miller's 2nd page is being referred to as Page 8.

On the previous page, Miller mentions a "happy time" ("how distant?") when he used to move wall to wall to greet his "old friends." Then follows a list of painters: "each one had something precious to impart." This follows his paragraph on Strindberg (1.10, 1.11), so I imagine that he's continuing the line of thought in which he gives evidence to the value of The Artist.

8.1 Leon Bakst
(1866-1924) Russian-Jewish painter and costume designer. Not sure why he's the first to come to Miller's mind.

8.2 Whistler
(1834-1903) James McNeill Whistler, prominent American painter and Impressionist. [see also pg 222]

8.3 Lovis Corinth
(1858-1925) German Impressionist-Expressionist painter.

8.4 Breughel The Elder
There were actually two "Elders," Pieter (c1525-1569) and Jan (1568-1625). Both were Flemish painters known for landscapes and still lifes.

8.5 Bosch
(c1450-1516) The Dutch Hieronymus Bosch would of course receive a more prominent reference by Miller in his book Big Sur And The Oranges Of Hieronymus Bosch. In Nexus, Bosch receives further mention on pages 20 and 264, the latter of which is a reference to the fact that Miller has a Bosch print that he looks at for inspiration while writing.

8.6 Giotto [left]
(1267-1337) Italian painter and architect at the forefront of the Italian Renaissance. Miller raises the stature of Giotto in Nexus by favourable mentioning him again on pages 192, 222 and 263.

8.7 Cimabue
(c1240-c1303) Florentinian who discovered Giotto and, with him, helped make art more naturalistic. [see also pg. 99]

8.8 Piero della Francesca
(c1420-c1492) Italian, Early Renaissance; historically noted for use of perspective. [see also 192, 263]

8.9 Grunewald
(c1475-1528) Matthias Grunewald, German Renaissance painter.

8.10 Holbein
(14th-15th century) German Renaissance painters. Could be Hans the Younger or Elder. [see also pg 222]

8.11 Lucas Cranach
(14th-15th c.) Again, German painters not distinhuished as Younger or Elder.

8.12 Van Gogh
Am being presumptuous in thinking that we already know all about Vincent? [see also pg 94, 101]

8.13 Utrillo
(1883-1955) French painter Maurice Utrillo was born in Montmartre and made it his subject. [right]

8.14 Gauguin
(1848-1903) Another famous painter, mentioned again on pages 100 and 101.

8.15 Piranesi
(1720-1778) Italian artist known for his etchings of Rome.

8.16 Utamaro 8.17 Hokusai 8.18 Hiroshige
Three important and influential Japanese print-makers and painters. Utamaro is repeated on pg 239; Hokusai more significantly on pages 217, 260 and 264. Hiroshige is referenced again on pages 222 and 229.

8.17 -- and the Wailing Wall.
Miller ends his list with this seeming non sequitur. Maybe there's a famous engraving of this Jewish holy site? I'm not quite sure what the meaning of its inclusion is nor the significance of it as a reference to Judaism.

8.18 Goya too
(1746-1828) Spanish painter [left]. Not sure why he isn't simply part of the main list. Miller has stated that he often barrels along with his writing without stopping, so this is probably just an afterthought.

8.19 Turner
(1775-1851) British Romantic landscape artist, JMW Turner. As with Goya, his name is added after the fact. Adding them this way gives the impression that the list could go on and on.

8.20 But particularly Tilla Durieux
See 1.4. Miller either means the literal actress, whom he may have had a crush on and considered a natural work of beauty (like the paintings), or else, as with 1.4, Durieux is mentioned in reference to Mona (June). Was Mona the most inspiring of all? But now it's all gone .....

8.21 Balzac’s “imaginary paintings”
This is what Miller says he's left with, along with the bare walls and darkness. I can't be certain of the reference, but Balzac had a story called The Imaginary Masterpiece, in which a great, aging painter's secret masterpiece turns out to be nothing but the scribblings and visual mess of a madman. One can see the parallels to Miller's concern about himself.

8.22 Issac Dust, born of dust and returning to dust.
Introduced in 1.6, this metaphorical pseudonym returns to the idea that Miller is an insignificant Nobody.

8.23 Add a codicil for old times' sake.
A document that amends a legal will. Is this addressed to Mona, meaning, 'I'm dying anyway, go ahead and alter my will as you please?'

8.24 Anastasia
Fictional name for Jean Kronski (itself a fictional name, but more on that later: biography to come soon). Significant person in Nexus; Mona's young artist lesbian lover, an unwelcome third wheel to the Miller home.

8.25 Hegoroboru ... Bertha Filigree of Lake Tahoe-Titicaca ... of the Imperial Court of the Czars
All of these titles are attributed to Stasia by Miller, all meant to mock her importance and exotic nature. The first name, Hegoroburu, is a misspelling. In Letters To Emil (p.43 - a letter dated April 1930), Henry lists a few thoughts passing through his head, one of which is "Who is Loulou Hegoburu?" This spelling refers to a French stage actress and operatta singer who starred in No, No Nannette and on Broadway, in A Night In Paris (1926) [the question Henry poses is never answered]. Not sure why this would be the first description to come to mind about Jean; perhaps she looked like her? With that possibility in mind, I've included an image of Loulou at left.

The second title contains real words and place names (filigree is a jewel with threads of gold or silver) and seems to be jumbled together with nonsensical mockery in mind; and the third alludes to the young Russian Grand Duchess with whom she shares a name, Anastasia. The "Bertha" title is repeated in 10.5 (page 10).

8.26 in the Observation Ward
The biting irony of the preceeding high titles is that the magnificent Stasia is actually in a mental hospital. Not sure which New York hospital this might be [I make a few guesses at 10.1 (page 10)].

8.27 Saul barks in his delirium, believing he is Isaac Dust.
This is Miller's lead-in to his decsription of his immediate time and place inside the apartment they share. Besides use of the Jewish name "Saul" (meant to be Miller; again the Jewish identification), it combines points from the previous page: barks (1.1), delirium (1.8) and Issac Dust (1.6).

8.28 Count Bruga
Stasia'a puppet creation. See this posting about Count Bruga.

8.29 Javanese and Tibetan idols
Belonging to Stasia, to further the idea that she is drawn to the exotic.

8.30 miniature hat a la Boheme
Count Bruga's hat, in the "bohemian" style, similar to those worn by characters in Pucini's opera, La Boheme, set in Paris in the 1830's.

8.31 imported from la Galerie Dufayel
Meaning that even the bohemians are false (i.e. Stasia), in that the modest hat comes from an upscale shopping gallery.

8.32 The Imperial Orgy, etc ..
Miller procedes to list every single one of Anastasia's (Jean's) books in the apartment. Henry must have been in a pedantic mood when he uncovered these notes from 1927 as he was writing Nexus. However, the list does tell us something about Jean Kronski, which I explore in "From The Library Of Jean Kronski."

Miller transcribes a quote he finds of Stasia's, written on butcher's paper. It begins on page 8 but will be covered on Page 9.

<--- Previous page 7 Next page 9 ------>


Blogger Kathleen Callon said...

I love this post. Just about all of my favorite artists are listed here. Wonderful.

10:11 am  
Blogger RC said...

Kathleen, I really appreciate that you took a moment to leave a comment. Thanks.

11:00 pm  
Anonymous Kreg said...

Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece" is an interesting tie-in, but I think Miller is referring here to an anecdote he read about in "The Stones of Paris" regarding Balzac's imaginary furnishings, which were simply labels for fancy decor that he scribbled onto the bare walls of his home:

"His [Balzac's] rooms were almost bare of furniture, and this was suggested by his stage directions charcoaled on the plaster walls: “Rosewood panels,” “Gobelins tapestries,” “Venetian mirror,” “An inlaid cabinet stands here,” “Here hangs a Raphael.” Thus he was content to camp for four or five years, hoping his house would yet be furnished, and perhaps believing it was already furnished."

The anecdote about the wall scribblings originates from the memoirs of Leon Gozlan, one of Balzac's friends. A Google books search on -- balzac imaginary furnishings -- will turn up a few references.

I wrote a post that ties a little more of this stuff together here.

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