THE SPECIAL KEY

‘HOUSE IN DONEGAL’/gunther

June 24, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     There is your ancestry, whether you visit it, know it, appreciate it or not. It is in your DNA, in your features, perhaps in mannerisms, speech, beliefs. Ancestry may affect the genes in the way you are gifted with this ability or that.

     You may never meet your ancestry by visiting a country, seeing, tasting its flavor. You may not have the means, or the interest or the ability to travel. 

     Yet be assured that who you are has a foot in the past somewhere. You may not know the language of your ancestors nor their ways, but in the same journey in which all modern humans probably are descended from the Africa of 2,000 generations ago, we each have reference points on the long trip.   

     Somewhere else, separate from your life as you know it, is an ancestor’s village — a house there — and you have a key to its door. Your own key. 

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com

THE EDWARD HOPPER HOUSE DOOR

 

‘TOP OF STAIRS’/gunther

June 17, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     NYACK, N.Y. — Once there was a door at the top of the steep steps in the 1858 birthplace home of Edward Hopper, the foremost American realist painter. It was not there in his childhood, 1887 birth-on, nor did the family need such closure. 

     The door, rescued from several originals kept in the basement, was attached in the early 1970s rescue of the then deteriorating, once handsome, modest home of a Baptist minister, Edward’s grandfather (John Smith), then his father Garret, a shopkeeper, then the artist himself. Edward passed in 1967, his sister Marion in 1965, and Josephine Nivison, the painter’s wife, also an artist, in 1968.

     A door at the top of the stairs was needed in the house renovation so that income-producing space for studio renters and a handyman could be had, assuring that the almost total volunteer effort to save a historic home, that of a famous artist as well, could continue.

     In time, the Edward Hopper House was able to open up to the public the upstairs room where Marion, Edward and their mother Elizabeth were born, and so, the door was removed. Visitors to the bedroom are taken by the brilliant Hudson River light that shoots up Second Avenue straight onto the walls. Surely this painter of light was touched from infancy.

     Doors give us privacy, guard the quiet. Sometimes — valuable times — they must be closed. In other moments, they should be wide open or exist not at all. 

     At the Hopper House, now 82 North Broadway, the opened door at the top of the steep stairs gives visitors deeper insight into an artist who never tells the story in his paintings but who opens a door to our own tale(s).

     The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com

 

‘COLOR’ EVERYWHERE

‘CANYONS’/gunther

 

June 10, 2019

By Arthur H. Gunther III

thecolumnrule.com

(also on Facebook)

     You think of New York City “canyons,” the long alleys created by ever-taller buildings that eat light and cast shadow, and you think starkness, loneliness, monoliths of isolation. 

     But, no. All that, yes, yet there is color in everything. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Gothamites and visitors alike will see architectural beauty, construction accomplishment and “progress” in those dark, gray canyons — all the hues  of living.

     Photographers capturing canyon images will deliberately use black and white film or set digital cameras to no color  to document the magnificence of architectural contrast and the particular “light” in Gotham alleys. The iconic cityscape is written for posterity.

     Isn’t this all “color” of a sort?

    The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@yahoo.com