Friday, November 27, 2015

Colville, Bibin and Soho Sojourns

Last week at this time I was in Soho, New York, my last day and we wondered the art galleries and decadent high fashion boutiques.

I took a picture of this painting by Drago Bibin, 'cuz I liked it and it reminded me of this famous painting by Colville, stuck in a corner of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Well, need I explain why?

Here's a link to the other paintings by Bibin on the Arcadia Gallery website. Bibin likes to paint raunchy rooms.

Speaking of raunchy rooms, the first day we got to New York we went to the Tenement Museum. My friend got a kick out of the fact they made a museum out of a really, really run down building.

(I subsequently sent her links to two theses about the tenement museum.)

Being from Montreal, it's not like we hadn't seen these kind of buildings before, especially in the McGill Student Ghetto in the 70's... but these hovels, rented out to students, are all now super-gentrified.

Anyway, I snapped the Colville a couple of years ago and was surprised to see such an iconic painting placed beside the elevators, in the basement, like an afterthought.

But, then, at MOMA, where we spent the middle day of our three day trip, the iconic Wyeth with the crippled girl in the field and the house on the hill  is in a corridor.

Pictures of the inside of the Tenement Museum are forbidden, but I have this pic from a 1910 Technical World magazine of a typical NY City tenement. I found that article while researching Threshold Girl and my other books about Montreal in the 1910 era.

"Windowless Hall."

In Montreal, windowless apartments were banned, but families lived in them anyway. My ebook Furies Cross the Mersey, about the Suffragists of Montreal explains it all in a scene at Julia Parker Drummond's Sherbrooke Street Mansion.

The tour leader at the Tenement Museum explained that these poor immigrant families in NY tenements were proud, hardworking, and often obsessed with cleanliness.