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Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD–LOIS NETTLETON ALBUM part 5 & (171) ARTSY A Brief History

JEAN SHEPHERD–LOIS NETTLETON ALBUM part 5 & (171) ARTSY A Brief History

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Besides various extended letters, while they were apart on professional trips in those early days, Jean and Lois corresponded by writing. Shepherd sent many postcards to Lois, some addressed to Mrs. J. Shepherd, including one from Scotland where he was traveling with The Beatles for a week in order to interview them for Playboy (published February, 1965). See what he wrote about them in this card. Despite at first being displeased with them, during their hectic one night stands, he soon became like one of the family (a Fifth Beatle ?!), and seemed to appreciate (not their music, but) their friendly comradery.

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ARTSY—A BRIEF HISTORY

Because of my passion for art, years ago Allison gave me a special mug. It comes from “The Unemployed Philosophers Guild,” located in Brooklyn, New York. I drink my morning coffee from it daily, brewed from espresso beans, black, no sugar.

Lascaux Cave Painting; Fowling Scene from Egyptian Tomb; Black Figure (Greek Pottery); Basilica of Saint Apollinaire, Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmatta Giotto; Tribute Money Massaccio; Last Judgment Bosch; Vitruvian Man da Vinci; Birth of Venus Botticelli; Bacchus Michelangelo, Merisi Caravaggio; Milkmaid Vermeer; Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zunica Goya; Dancer on the Stage Degas; Rouen Cathedral Monet; Sunflowers Van Gogh; The Scream Munch; Demoiselles d’Avignon Picasso; Composition with Red, Yellow, Blue and Black Mondrian; Self-Portrait Kahlo; Lavender Mist Number 1 Pollock; Campbell’s Soup Can Warhol; Wham! Lichtenstein, Sky Bird Magritte; Balloon Dog Koons.

I look at the images on the mug every day, and I’m familiar with almost all of the original creations. However, only recently have I become aware of and studied the well-designed way in which the collage of images has been assembled in its clever composition by Brooklyn’s Unemployed Philosophers.

The scans below are from my very own mug. Starting from the earliest artworks, I describe only some of the major graphic ways they have been arranged so that shapes and colors help move the eye along in their chronological march ever onward and upward (maybe more onward than upward, as some might believe).

First a sequence of overlapping blacks: horse’s head and mane, Egyptian headdress, Greek figure with spear and dog, move the composition onward.

How the upraised hands of saint, Jesus, and da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man frame the figures.

Tribute-money man’s white arm flows into scarf of Bosch’s red-coated figure.

Saint’s dark brown robe curving downward and to the right, helps give a flow to the Bosch soul frying in a pan.

The da Vinci man and Botticelli Venus with her shell behind, give onward flow.

Degas dancer’s upraised hand echoes da Vinci upraised hand.

Munch’s scream-woman and Picasso’s image of demoiselles make a powerful, upright, horrific pair.

The little red-suited Goya, the Mondrian red, the Warhol soup can, and the Koons dog combine in a scarlet dance toward the end.

The end and the beginning echo each other—the balloon-dog at the end faces the horse, dog, Egyptian and Greek at the beginning; the blue bird on the Egyptian’s hand at the beginning echoes the Magritte sky bird at the end (This bird is best seen on the box illustration above, where it hovers over the photo of the cup.) That the beginning and the end face each other at the handle (at the very connection where we grasp the cup’s historical digest) is a satisfying conclusion to the affair.

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6 Comments

  1. Tony Chopkoski says:

    Wow, in her keeping all these little things one gets such (and I’ll be hackneyed here, but…) an intimate picture of Shep. But a question arises to me…(and I hope this does not disturb you…)…had Shep at this point already declared himself “without issue”? I mean I understand it in one way…the artist wanting to fly..and yet, what the heck, it’s the kids.
    And back in the early 70’s, as I was hitchhiking through Connecticut to Fall River, MA, I got to talking with one driver about Shep and Lo and Behold! he knew Shep’s son who I did not know existed. I knew he had a former wife in Princeton from the shows but this took the cake!

    And Wow! for you for saving…and SHARING! all this!

    Hmm, I mean did he suspect they were not his kids? Or, was it for estate control?

  2. Bud Painton says:

    Thank you so much for enabling us to zoom in on these marvelous Shep-to-Lois postcards, Gene. (Shep’s Beatles connection has always been something special for us fans to ponder and study, as well!) Thoroughly enjoying these fascinating artifacts from Jean and Lois’ shared years. Many thanks, again!

  3. Tony Chopkoski says:

    The post card of the left rear of Notre Dame is opposite a right rear bridge from the Ile Saint Louis where I had a cheap hotel in ’68…and ever cheaper wine.

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