Feedback: Let ‘The Blue Boy’ Stay Safe in London
Regarding Christopher Knight’s comment [“Why experts fear return of ‘The Blue Boy’ to London” [July 6]: In fact, the experts do not. Knight’s story is deeply one-sided and misleading.
After several years of considerable consideration and discussion, and having instituted a rigorous set of protocols, the Huntington has decided to loan Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” to the National Gallery in London – but only on expert advice and only under very specific and restrictive conditions. conditions. The long-term well-being of this iconic work has always been Huntington’s guiding principle for any discussion of the possibility of a loan.
Knight’s article failed to capture how much we have researched the issue that ultimately led us to this important decision. The 2018 panel of restorers he cites met to study the state of the painting and recommend a conservation treatment for it. They were not responsible for advising on possible movements, but rather on the best plan of work to stabilize and respect the historical integrity of the work. We followed all of their treatment recommendations.
In 2019, with most of the conservation work done, the Huntington called a second group of curators and curators, specifically to advise us on a possible trip. These were people from preeminent North American museums, all with similar collections and extensive experience with Old Master paintings. These professionals know all the best practices and the latest thinking in transporting works of art for masterpieces of “The Blue Boy” caliber. The group received the most recent information on the state of the painting and what had been learned during the extensive conservation project. The panel said the painting could be safely loaned out, but only needed to go to one location, an institution of the highest caliber with stellar exhibition and curatorial facilities and staff, and that it had to be transported in a state of the art custom case. We scrupulously follow all the recommendations of the panel.
So, after careful consideration, the Huntington has decided to loan our most iconic painting for this one occasion – the centenary of his departure from England, where it was last exhibited in the National Gallery – so that the public and the academic public across the Atlantic see and study the painting after restoration.
Great masterpieces have traveled from time to time, under very rigorous protocols. This one will too. While we appreciate Knight’s continued interest in the work, his play was an omission: he just didn’t report the full set of facts, which resulted in misleading and inaccurate conclusions.
Karen R. Lawrence
Gregory A. Pieschala
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanic Gardens
Our Huntington Library membership is a real gem in our way of life. Normally, I support art exchanges between artistic organizations, but this one leaves me a little puzzled.
“The Blue Boy” is a Gainsborough, and a vivid example of his best work. I side with the Conservatives.
Make the British spend their books here.
The paintings are not sculptures or pottery, they are fragile and subject to degradation on another scale.
Return to River City
About “‘Music Man’ Revival is a problem with a capital ‘T'” [July 8]: In her commentary, Ashley Lee overlooks the fact that “The Music Man” was a subversive work on Wilson’s disappointment at the ease with which his hometown (Mason City, Iowa) was destroyed by big-city crooks. There are countless double meanings in the book about his ignorance of his hometown.
He was not proud of Mason City, he left and never returned.
Lee’s research seems to have ignored all the important details that contextualize “The Music Man”. It’s a musical about a white man who snatches white people and then runs away. At no time is he celebrated. It is a show of pageantry where the ignorant boast of being ignorant.
Citing what other critics wrote about the series as proof of intent is ludicrous when the author himself wrote an entire book and made an album out of it so that future generations would clearly know what he was doing and how he had done it.
It’s a musical that laughs at white people for being so stupid. Maybe Lee is confusing “The Music Man” with something that is representative of the local culture and is actually a celebration of a sanitized version of America: Main Street USA at Disneyland.
I believe most people go to the movies and movies primarily for entertainment and to escape the often harsh reality. So, it appears that your writer Ashley Lee seemed to have missed the point by seeing things through a mirror tinted with political correctness.
Like many others, I found the shows as well as the movie “The Music Man” uplifting and enjoyable with the tune of “76 trombones” lingering in my head for days on end.
The 2021 Global Happiness Rankings placed America in 19th place – near the bottom of all industrialized nations.
In my opinion, this is probably due in part to the yoke of political correctness placed on our shoulder, making free speech more of an illusion than a reality.
Can’t we just take advantage of an event for what it is?
John T. Chiu
About “Cancel black erase” [July 4]: Questlove’s “Summer of Soul” is a predominantly political statement depicting the angst and joy of black people in the late 1960s in Harlem, framed by a gold mine of live-filmed musical performances from the Harlem Cultural Festival , a series of concerts hitherto unknown to many.
As a music historian, I expected Questlove’s film to primarily feature invaluable musical performances never before seen with cultural historical content for the context. It was the opposite of that.
Therefore, please release a sequel containing full sets of BB King, Max Roach / Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, et al, and let the real musical truth and joy shine relentlessly.
The voice of MTC
I’m not sure how anyone can talk about the importance of the classic TCM movie station without mentioning the late and great Robert Osborne [“Classic Movies Fight Back,” July 4] .
Current TCM hosts and audiences owe much to the modest and elegant Osborne. An actor (taught by Lucille Ball), a respected print and television journalist and (I’m jealous!) Someone who has had long, almost weekly conversations with Hedy Lamarr, Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland.
Her unique and sensitive interview with Betty Hutton brought tears to my eyes.
TCM talent on the air Mankiewicz, Stewart, Karger, Malone and Muller all straddle those shapely shoulders that we miss a lot. To paraphrase what Cole Porter said about Irving Berlin’s place in American music, Robert Osborne was TCM and classic Hollywood movies.
How is it possible for Stephen Battaglio to write an entire article about how cord cut affects TCM and not mention Sling – the streaming service that carries TCM?
Not only can you watch in real time, but Sling recommends watching other movies available on TCM at any time that we may have missed during the normal broadcast time.
Not an easy decision
Meredith Blake’s characterization of the Cosby decision as being based on “technicality” fails to recognize what actually happened.
In a civil deposition, Cosby sought to take the 5th Amendment. In order to obtain his testimony, the then prosecutor agreed that no criminal charges would be laid, thus forcing Cosby to testify since there was no criminal danger resulting from it. The result was an award of over $ 3 million to the plaintiff who sued him. The new prosecutor failed to honor his predecessor’s pledge, resulting in a trial and conviction. The Pennsylvania court corrected this injustice and quashed the conviction. It is not technical to demand that public officials honor and respect the agreements they make, even with the most unworthy participants.