Mostly Cut Paper, with Tailleferre

Scraps of colored paper, a Greek stamp, a Portuguese sticker, and a background of magazine cuttings accompany Henry Sibley’s Keyed Bugle in e-Flat (1840).

This keyed bugle by the Boston maker Henry Sibley is associated with Edward Kendall, the most celebrated US performer of the instrument. Kendall played with a number of bands including the celebrated Boston Brass Band and toured throughout the country. He is remembered for his encounter with the band leader Patrick Gilmore, with whom he entered into a musical duel. The contest pitted Kendall, performing on keyed bugle, against Gilmore on cornet. While the keyed bugle was prized for its warm sound and subtle tonal inflections, the more technically agile cornet eventually became the undisputed leader of the band. [cite]

The above is the only collage using torn paper this time around.

Joshua Johnson’s Emma Van Name (ca. 1805) eats a strawberry, accompanied by pieces of a Janet Fish artwork.

Son of a white man and an unidentified enslaved mother, Johnson apprenticed to a blacksmith before achieving his freedom in 1782, becoming part of Baltimore’s large free black population. “Emma Van Name” is arguably his most ambitious and engaging portrait of an individual child. [cite]

A water-damaged paperback of Eastman House photography yielded Nicholas Muray’s Woman in a Cell Playing Solitaire (ca. 1950) and Alfred Steiglitz’s Paula, Berlin (1889). Paper scraps, magazine cut-outs, and stickers from clementines make up the rest.

Max Beckmann’s The Old Actress (1926) and Lewis Hine’s Spinner Girl (1908) anchor this collage, with pieces from a Cardiff Castle postcard and scraps from magazines filling in here and there.

Listening List

Germaine Tailleferre’s Arabesque (1973)

Tailleferre dedicated Arabesque to Désiré Dondeyne, the wind band conductor and composer who inspired Tailleferre to write for wind instruments. Dondeyne was a clarinetist who earned first prize in clarinet from the Paris Conservatoire, and later served as solo clarinet of the French Air Force Band. Tailleferre and Dondeyne first met in 1970 while he was working on a concert to honor Les Six, and later became good friends. [cite]

Credits: The sources for the quotations are cited in the text. The photographs (and underlying collages) are mine.

10 thoughts on “Mostly Cut Paper, with Tailleferre

  1. shoreacres

    I’m struck by how strongly individual each of these is. None resembles any of the others; each has it’s own energy, it’s own particular feel. And yet, they make up a pleasing group. I really enjoyed spending time with them, letting my eye wander, finding new details on every pass.

    The only detail that I found off-putting was that child. I understand that Joshua Johnson is to be admired, and that the painting of Emma Van Name next to her oversized goblet is “important,” but I just can’t stand the painting. I have no idea why my reaction’s so visceral, but there it is. Maybe I had my hand slapped when sneaking strawberries as a child!

    I especially enjoyed the 1950s feel of the woman playing cards in her cell, and the spare dignity of the old actress. I might title the second, torn paper piece “The Death of Fashion.” I used to have a pair of polyester knit harem pants that were dead ringers for the red pattern in that piece, and believe me — the title would be appropriate. Ah, the ’70s.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: Love your title “The Death of Fashion,” and even more thinking of those polyester knit harem pants! The closest I can come for that era was a pair of livid paisley bell bottoms. The Johnson painting is a mystery–I found I kept coming back to it, just because of its peculiarity, and finally it had to be incorporated into a collage. I wonder what Johnson was thinking while painting it, that outsize goblet particularly.

  2. Mark Kerstetter

    “Arabesque” is a beautiful piece of music. But so are these collages. I mean, Wow! You’re getting better and better at this. I think it’s really cool that in the ‘Emma’ collage you play in both image and technique with the idea of forms within forms. But it all starts with Emma herself, doesn’t it? She looks like she’s made out of porcelain, a hollow eggshell. There’s something Japanese about the Beckman one (I love Beckman, btw). The balance in your composition in the woman playing cards is great. Texture is the hero, for me, in the torn paper one. But overall the first one, with the bugle, hits me the hardest–it’s so crisp, bright and light–gorgeous, like the best baroque music. Beautiful.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark: I’m so pleased you enjoyed Arabesque. Tailleferre has a number of lovely chamber works. (I have this terrible habit of listening to certain pieces to death, then forgetting them a while, then “rediscovering” them, and that’s what happened here.) I love what you’ve said about Emma. I don’t know even yet what it is about that painting I found so arresting, but I certainly enjoyed playing off the image. I’m delighted the bugle piece shot to the top for you. It did for me, as well, though I couldn’t have put to words, as you do so nicely here, why that might be so.

  3. David Nice

    I genuinely love your artistry here, starting with the boogie-woogie bugle, and especially the near-abstract one. Exhibition pending? And I have a soft spot for Tailleferre.

Comments are closed.