Day in History 21 November – Henry Purcell

On this day in 1695, organist and Baroque composer, Henry Purcell, died at his home in Dean’s Yard, Westminster at the age of 35 or 36.  Born on or about 10 September 1659 in St Ann’s Lane, Old Pye Street, Westminster.  His legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music, a style of European classical music  extending from about 1600 to 1750.  This era begins after the Renaissance and was followed by the Classical era.  The word “baroque” came from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning “misshapen pearl”.  Baroque music forms a major portion of the classical music canon and is associated with composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi and Purcell.  Most importantly to me, it was during this period that opera became established as a musical genre.  Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (c. 1689) is, in my opinion, the first important English opera, and is still performed.  Purcell had a direct influence on rock and roll.  Apparently, both Pete Townshend of The Who and Queen, list Purcell’s music as an influence on their own.  The Final Footprint – Purcell is entombed in Westminster Abbey near the organ in the North Choir Aisle.  His epitaph reads: “Here lyes Henry Purcell Esq., who left this life and is gone to that blessed place where only his harmony can be exceeded.”  A bronze memorial sculpture by Glynn Williams, The Flowering of the English Baroque, in tribute to Purcell was installed in a park on Victoria St,. Westminster.  Other notable Final Footprints at Westminster include; Robert Browning, Lord Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Edward The Confessor, Elizabeth I, George II, George Friederic Handel, James I (James VI of Scotland), Samuel Johnson, Ben Jonson, Charles II, Edward III, Edward VI, Henry III, Henry V, Henry VII, Richard II, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier, Mary I, Mary II, Mary Queen of Scots, Thomas Shadwell, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, and William III.

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Day in History – 20 November – Leo Tolstoy – Tom Horn

On this day in 1910, writer, Leo Tolstoy, died in Astapovo, Russia at the age of 82.  Born Lyev Nikolayevich Tolstoy on 9 September 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana, the family estate in the Tula region of Russia.  Perhaps best known for his masterpieces Anna Karenina (1877) and War and Peace (1869).  Some condsider Tolstoy to be the worlds greatest novelist.  Tolstoy is also known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.  His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist.  His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on other thinkers and reformers.  On 23 September 1862, Tolstoy married Sophia “Sonya” Andreevna Bers, who was 16 years his junior and the daughter of a court physician.  Their relationship was apparently passionate and tumultuous and they had 13 children.  The Final Footprint – Tolstoy is interred in the  “Place of the Green Wand” in the Forest of the Old Order at Yasnaya Polyana.

 

 

 

Tom_Horn,_Lincoln,_NEOn this day in 1903, American Old West scout, hired gunman, Pinkerton, range detective, cowboy, and soldier Tom Horn executed by hanging in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Born Thomas Horn, Jr. on the Horn family farm in rural northeastern Scotland County, Missouri.  Believed to have committed 17 murders as a hired gunman in the West, in 1902 Horn was convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell near Iron Mountain, Wyoming.  The boy was the son of sheep rancher Kels Nickell, who had been involved in a range feud with neighbor and cattle rancher Jim Miller.  The Final Footprint – Horn was buried in the Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Colorado on 3 December 1903.  Rancher Jim Coble paid for his coffin and a stone to mark his grave.  While in jail he wrote his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (1904), which was published posthumously. Numerous editions have been published of this book since the late 20th century, and debate continues as to whether he was guilty of Nickell’s murder.  Horn was portrayed by Steve McQueen in movie Tom Horn (1980).  While the film took liberties with facts, McQueen’s performance was highly praised, and the film was well received.

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Day in History 19 November – Nicolas Poussin – Thomas Shadwell

Nicolas_Poussin_078On this day in 1665, classical French painter, Nicolas Poussin, died in Rome at the age of 71.  Perhaps the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome.  He worked in Rome for a circle of leading collectors there and elsewhere, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.  Most of his works are history paintings of religious or mythological subjects that often have a large landscape element.  He served as inspiration for classically-oriented artists, notably Paul Cézanne.  The Final Footprint – Poussin is interred at Basilica di San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome.  The French writer, politician, diplomat and founder of Romanticism in French literature, François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, donated the marble memorial in honour of Poussin in 1820.  It reads; POUR LA GLORIE DES ARTS ET LHONNEUR DE LA FRANCE.

 

Gallery

Venus and Adonis – Nicolas Poussin – 1624 – Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Cephalus and Aurora – Nicolas Poussin – 1627 – National Gallery, London.

Acis and Galatea – Nicolas Poussin – 1629 – National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

 

 

Adoration of the Golden Calf – Nicolas Poussin – 1633-34 – National Gallery, London.

A dance to the music of time – Nicolas Poussin – 1640 – The Wallace Collection.

 

On this day in 1692, English poet and playwright who was appointed poet laureate in 1689, Thomas Shadwell died from an overdose of opium at Chelsea on 19 November 1692.  Born ca. 1642 at Stanton Hall, Norfolk, England.  The Final Footprint – Shadwell was interred at Chelsea Old Church which was destroyed during World War II bombing.  He has a memorial in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.  Other notable Final Footprints at Westminster include; Robert Browning, Lord Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Edward The Confessor, Elizabeth I, George II, George Friederic Handel, James I (James VI of Scotland), Samuel Johnson, Ben Jonson, Charles II, Edward III, Edward VI, Henry III, Henry V, Henry VII, Richard II, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier, Henry Purcell, Mary I, Mary II, Mary Queen of Scots, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, and William III.

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Day in History 18 November – Marcel Proust – Joseph Kennedy – James Coburn

On this day in 1922, novelist Marcel Proust, died in Paris at the age of 51.  Born Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust on 10 July 1871 in Auteuil, France.  Author of the monumental  À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past).  It was published in seven parts totaling about 3200 pages between 1913 and 1927.  W. Somerset Maugham called the novel the “greatest fiction to date”.  Graham Greene called Proust the “greatest novelist of the 20th century”.  The Final Footprint – Proust is entombed in an individual above ground crypt in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most visited cemeteries in the world.  Other notable Final Footprints at Père Lachaise include; Honoré de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Maria Callas, Chopin, Colette, Auguste Comte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Camille Pissarro, Sully Prudhomme, Gioachino Rossini, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Simone Signoret, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wright.

Joseph_P__Kennedy,_Sr__1940On this day in 1969, American businessman, investor, and government official, patriarch of the Kennedy Family, Joseph Kennedy died in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts at the age of 81.  Born Joseph Patrick Kennedy on 6 September 1888 in Boston.  He was the father of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, United States Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, naval officer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Special Olympics co-founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith.  He was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community.  Kennedy was the inaugural Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and later directed the Maritime Commission.  Kennedy served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 until late 1940, including the early part of World War II.  Kennedy was educated at Harvard University, and embarked on a career in finance, making a large fortune as a stock market and commodity investor and by investing in real estate and a wide range of industries.  During World War I, he was an assistant general manager of a Boston area Bethlehem Steel shipyard, through which he developed a friendship with FDR, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  In the 1920s Kennedy made huge profits from reorganizing and refinancing several Hollywood studios, ultimately merging several acquisitions into Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) studios.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, Kennedy consolidated an even larger fortune when he traveled to Scotland with FDR’s son, James Roosevelt, to buy distribution rights for Scotch whisky.  His company, Somerset Importers, became the exclusive American agent for Gordon’s Gin and Dewar’s Scotch.  He owned the largest office building in the country at that time, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, giving his family an important base in that city and an alliance with the Irish-American political leadership there.  His term as ambassador and his political ambitions ended abruptly during the Battle of Britain in November 1940, with the publishing of his controversial remarks suggesting that “Democracy is finished in England. It may be here, [in the US].”   Kennedy resigned under pressure shortly afterwards.  In later years, Kennedy worked behind the scenes to continue building the financial and political fortunes of the Kennedy family.  Kennedy married Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the eldest daughter of Boston Mayor John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald (political rival of his father P. J. Kennedy) and Mary Josephine “Josie” Hannon.  The marriage joined two of the city’s most prominent Irish-American political families.  The couple had nine children, four boys and five girls.  Kennedy survived all but one of his sons and one of his daughters.  The Final Footprint – Kennedy is interred in the Kennedy private family estate in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts.

James_Coburn_The_Californians_1959On this day in 2002, Academy Award winning actor James Coburn died of heart attack while listening to music in his Beverly Hills home at the age of 77.  Born James Harrison Coburn III in Laurel, Nebraska on 31 August 1928.  Coburn was featured in over 70 films and made 100 television appearances during his 45-year career, winning an Academy Award for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.  His rugged and “cool” persona made him a prpminent tough guy in numerous leading and supporting roles in westerns and action films, such as The Magnificent Seven (1960)The Great Escape (1963), Major Dundee (1965), Our Man Flint (1966), In Like Flint (1967), Duck, You Sucker! (1971), Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), Charade (1963) and Cross of Iron (1977).  Coburn married twice; Beverly Kelly (1959 – 1979 divorce) and Paula Murad (1993 – 2002 his death).  James_Coburn_grave_at_Westwood_Village_Memorial_Park_Cemetery_in_Brentwood,_CaliforniaThe Final Footprint – Coburn was cremated and his cremains were inurned in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery (a Dignity Memorial® provider) in Los Angeles, California, and marked by a stone bench inscribed with his name.  Other notable final footprints at Westwood include; Ray Bradbury, Sammy Cahn, Truman Capote, Rodney Dangerfield, Farrah Fawcett, Brian Keith, Don Knotts, Burt Lancaster, Peter Lawford, Peggy Lee, Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau, Marilyn Monroe, Carroll O’Connor, Roy Orbison, George C. Scott, Dorothy Stratten, Natalie Wood and Frank Zappa.

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Day in History 17 November – Rodin

On this day in 1917, sculptor Auguste Rodin, died at his villa in Meudon, Île-de-France, on the outskirts of Paris at the age of 77.  Born François-Auguste-René Rodin on 12 November 1840 in Paris.  Among his best known works: Le Penseur, La Porte de L’enfer, Monument à Balzac, Monument à Victor Hugo, Monument aux Bourgeois de Calais, L’homme qui Marche, L’age D’airain, and Le Baiser.  Clearly, Le Baiser (The Kiss) is my personal favorite.  The sculpture was originally titled Francesca da Rimini, as it depicts the 13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalised in Dante’s Inferno (Circle 2, Canto 5) who falls in love with her husband Giovanni Malatesta’s younger brother Paolo.  They fall in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, but the couple are discovered and killed by Giovanni.  In the sculpture, the book can be seen in Paolo’s hand.  The lovers lips do not actually touch in the sculpture to suggest that they were interrupted and met their demise without their lips ever having touched.  In 1864 Rodin began living with Rose Beuret, with whom he would have a son.  In 1883, at the age of 43, Rodin met the 18 year-old artist Camille Claudel.  The two commenced a passionate but stormy relationship and they influenced each other artistically.  She inspired him as a model for many of his female figures.  His muse if you will.  Rodin parted with Claudel in 1898.  He married Beuret after 53 years together in 1917, two weeks before her death.  The Final Footprint – Rodin is interred on the grounds of The Musée Rodin in Meudon.  His grave is marker by a bronze and marble cast of Le Penseur (The Thinker). 

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Day in History 16 November – Clark Gable

On this day in 1960, U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, Academy Award-winning actor, The King of Hollywood, Clark Gable, died in Los Angeles at the age of 59.  Born William Clark Gable on 1 February 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio.  Of course his most famous role was that of Rhett Butler with Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).  Perhaps my favorite movie.  His final film, The Misfits (1961), paired Gable with Marilyn Monroe in her last screen appearance.  The screen play for the movie was written by Monroe’s then husband, Arthur Miller.  Gable married five times including; Texas socialite Ria Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham and actress Carole Lombard.  The marriage to Lombard ended when she died in a plane crash on 16 January 1942.  Gable reportedly had affairs with Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Grace Kelly and Loretta YoungThe Final FootprintGable is entombed next to Lombard in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Trust, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.  Other notable Final Footprints at Forest Lawn Glendale include; L. Frank BaumHumphrey Bogart, Lon Chaney, Nat King Cole,  Sam Cooke, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Walt Disney, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Michael Jackson, Carole Lombard, Casey Stengel, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy.

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Day in History 15 November – Alydar – The Clutter Family

On this day in 1990, chesnut colt and American thoroughbred race horse, Alydar, died at the age of 15.  Foaled 23 March 1975 at Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky; sire Raise a Native, dam Sweet Tooth, damsire On-And-On.  Trained by John M. Veitch and ridden by jockey Jorge Velasquez, Alydar finished second to archrival Affirmed in all three Triple Crown Races in 1978.  A feat never accomplished, before or since.   In my opinion, their matchup in the Belmont Stakes ranks as the most exciting race in the history of the sport.  Affirmed won by a head to claim racing’s 11th Triple Crown Winner.  I watched all three races on television.  Both horses were beautiful chestnuts and I was a fan of both, but I was hoping that Affirmed would win.  Alydar was a major success as a stallion.  His offspring include; Easy Goer, Alysheba and Strike the Gold.  Alydar was allegedly killed in a staged accident so that his financially troubled owner could collect insurance proceeds.  The Final Footprint – Alydar is interred in the Calumet Farm Equine Cemetery in Lexington.

 

 

 

 

 

On this day in 1959, farmer Herbert Clutter (48), his wife Bonnie (45), their daughter Nancy (16), and their son Kenyon (15), were found bound and shot to death in various rooms of their home, on the family’s River Valley Farm on the outskirts of Holcomb, Kansas.  The murders, arrests and convictions of Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith were the basis for author Truman Capote‘s acclaimed book, In Cold Blood, which was serialized in The New Yorker magazine in 1965 and first published in book form in 1966. Capote actually began work on the book several days after he read a news article in a New York paper in 1959 about the murders.  Capote was assisted in his research by his childhood friend, Harper Lee.

The Final Footprint – The Clutters are interred in Valley View Cemetery in Garden City, Kansas.

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Day in History 14 November – Giovanni della Casa – Frank Weston Benson

giovannidellacasaWenceslas_Hollar_-_Altoviti,_or_della_Casa_(State_3)_croppedOn this day in 1556, Florentine poet, writer on etiquette and society, diplomat, and inquisitor, Giovanni della Casa died probably in the Farnese palace in Rome at the age of 53.  Born 28 June 1503 in Florence or Borgo San Lorenzo.  He is celebrated for his famous treatise on polite behavior, Il Galateo overo de’ costumi (1558).  From the time of its publication, this courtesy book has enjoyed enormous success and influence.  In the eighteenth century, influential critic Giuseppe Baretti wrote in The Italian Library (1757), “The little treatise is looked upon by many Italians as the most elegant thing, as to stile, that we have in our language.”  The Final Footprint – Casa is entombed in the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, Rome.

Frank_W_Benson_artist_headshot-crop-204x300On this day in 1951, impressionist painter, Frank Weston Benson, died in Salem, Massachusetts at the age of 89.  Born 24 March 1862 in Salem.  The Final Footprint – Benson is interred in Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem alongside his wife Ellen Perry Benson.  Their graves are marked by a large upright marble marker.

  • The Sisters, 1899, Terra Museum, Chicago

  • Eleanor Holding a Shell, 1902, Private collection

  • Calm Morning, 1904, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

  • Evening Light, 1908, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio

Red and Gold,

1915, by Frank W. Benson

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Day in History 13 November – Gioachino Rossini – Camille Pissarro

On this day in 1868, composer, The Italian Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini, died at his country house at Passy, France at the age of 76.  Born Gioachino Antonio Rossini on 29 February 1792 in Pesaro, Italy.  Best known for his 39 operas which inlcude Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville),  Guillaume Tell (William Tell) and La cenerentola (Cinderella).  A 30-year-old Rossini met Ludwig van Beethoven, then aged 51, in 1822.  Communicating in writing, Beethoven noted: “Ah, Rossini. So you’re the composer of The Barber of Seville. I congratulate you. It will be played as long as Italian opera exists. Never try to write anything else but opera buffa; any other style would do violence to your nature.”  That same year Rossini married the renowned opera singer Isabella Colbran.  She died in 1845 and on 16 August 1846, he married Olympe Pélissier.  During his life Rossini was photographed by Félix Nadar and Etienne Carjat and had his portrait painted by Giorces, Vincenzo Camuccini and Francesco Hayez.  I saw Houston Grand Opera’s production of La cenerentola in October of 1995 with Cecilia Bartoli in the role of Angelina (Cinderella).  I fell in love with opera, and Miss Bartoli, that night.  The Final Footprint – Rossini was entombed in the Rossini Private Mausoleum in Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, Ile-de-France Region, France.  In 1887, his remains were moved and entombed in the Basilica di Santa Croce, in Florence, at the request of the Italian government.  The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church.  It is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce.  It is the burial place of some of the most famous Italians; Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).  His private mausoleum remains unoccupied at Père Lachaise.  Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most visited cemeteries in the world.  Bravo Rossini!  Other notable Final Footprints at Père Lachaise include; Honoré de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Maria Callas, Chopin, Colette, Auguste Comte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Camille Pissarro (see below), Marcel Proust, Sully Prudhomme, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Simone Signoret, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wright.

camillePissarro-portraitOn this day in 1903, Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro died in Paris at the age of 73.  Born Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro on 10 July 1830 in Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, Danish West Indies (now US Virgin Islands).  Pissarro’s importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.  He studied with Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.  In 1873 he helped establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, perhaps becoming the leading figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members.  Art historian John Rewald called Pissarro the “dean of the Impressionist painters”, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality”.  Cézanne said “he was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord,”.  Pissarro apparently was one of Gauguin’s masters.  Renoir referred to his work as “revolutionary”, through his artistic portrayals of the “common man”, as Pissarro insisted on painting individuals in natural settings without “artifice or grandeur”.  Pissarro is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886.  In 1871 he married his mother’s maid, Julie Vellay, a vineyard grower’s daughter, with whom he would later have seven children.  They lived outside of Paris in Pontoise and later in Louveciennes, both of which places inspired many of his paintings including scenes of village life, along with rivers, woods, and people at work.  The Final Footprint – Pissarro was entombed in the  Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, Ile-de-France Region, France, the largest cemetery in the city of Paris (44 hectares or 110 acres).  Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement and is notable for being the first garden cemetery, as well as the first municipal cemetery.  It is the site of three World War I memorials.  The cemetery is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant.  The Paris Métro station Philippe Auguste on line 2 is next to the main entrance, while the station called Père Lachaise, on both lines 2 and 3, is 500 metres away near a side entrance.  Many tourists prefer the Gambetta station on line 3, as it allows them to enter near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill to visit the rest of the cemetery.  Other notable Final Footprints at Père Lachaise include; Honoré de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Maria Callas, Chopin, Colette, Auguste Comte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Sully Prudhomme, Gioachino Rossini (see above), Georges-Pierre Seurat, Simone Signoret, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wright.

Gallery

  • ”Boulevard Montmartre” cityscape series
  • Boulevard Montmartre à Paris, 1897

  • Boulevard Montmartre, morning, cloudy weather, National Gallery of Victoria, 1897

  • The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning, 1897, Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinée de Printemps, street view from hotel window, 1897

  • Boulevard Montmartre la nuit, 1898

     

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Day in History 12 November – Duncan II – William Holden

Scottish Flag

On this day in 1094, King of Scots, Duncan II, died at the Battle of Mondoynes.  Born Donnchad mac Maíl Coluim before c. 1060.  Son of Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson.  About 1093–1094 Duncan married Uchtreda of Northumbria, daughter of Gospatric, Earl of Dunbar and Northumbria.  Duncan deposed his uncle Donald III but reigned for only six months.  He was succeeded by Donald III.  I am very proud of my Scottish heritage.  In My Defens, God Me Defend!  The Final Footprint – There are two, contradictory accounts about the burial place of Duncan II. One reports him buried at Dunfermline Abbey, the other at the isle of Iona at Iona Abbey.  Dunfermline occupies the site of the ancient chancel and transepts of a large medieval Benedictine abbey, which was sacked in 1560 during the Scottish Reformation and permitted to fall into disrepair. Part of the old abbey church continued in use at that time and some parts of the abbey infrastructure still remain to this day.  Dunfermline Abbey is one of Scotland’s most important cultural sites. The ancient burial ground at Iona Abbey, called the Rèilig Odhrain (Eng: Oran’s “burial place” or “cemetery”), contains the 12th century chapel of St Odhrán, restored at the same time as the Abbey itself.  It contains a number of medieval grave monuments.  The abbey graveyard contains the graves of many early Scottish Kings, as well as kings from Ireland, Norway and France.  Iona became the burial site for the kings of Dál Riata and their successors.  Other notable final footprints at Dunfermline include; Saint Margaret of Scotland, Edgar, Alexander I, David I, Malcolm IV, Alexander III, and Robert The Bruce.

williamHolden-portraitOn this day in 1981 Academy Award winning actor William Holden bled to death from a head wound suffered in a fall in his apartment in Santa Monica, California at the age of 63.  Born William Franklin Beedle, Jr. in O’Fallon, Illinois on 17 April 1918.  In my opinion, one of the most popular movie stars of all time, Holden was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s.  Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1953 for his role in Stalag 17, and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in the 1973 television film The Blue Knight.  Holden starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed films, including such blockbusters as Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, Picnic, The Towering Inferno, and Network.  He was named one of the “Top 10 Stars of the Year” six times (1954–1958, 1961).  Holden married actress Ardis Ankerson (stage name Brenda Marshall) (1941 – 1971 divorce).  They served as best man and matron of honor as the only guests at the wedding of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis.  During the filming of Sabrina (1954), Audrey Hepburn and Holden became romantically involved.  Holden met French actress Capucine in the early 1960s.  The two starred in the films The Lion (1962) and The 7th Dawn (1964).  They began a two-year affair.  In 1972, Holden began a nine-year relationship with actress Stefanie Powers.  My favorite Holden movies; Sabrina (1954), The Horse Soldiers (1959) and The Wild Bunch (1969).  The Final Footprint – Holden had dictated in his will that the Neptune Society cremate him and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean.  No funeral or memorial service was held, per his wishes.  For his contribution to the film industry, Holden has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 1651 Vine Street.  He also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

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