Sometimes there aren’t any answers available. This painting: what’s the name?

I was watching a documentary, and there was a brief view of this work, for reasons I’ll explain in three weeks. (Really.) I wanted to know the name and more about it, for reasons I will also explain, in three weeks. (Also in a here-to-there scheduled for June 2024.) Artist’s name: nothing comes back on Google on this painting. Reverse image search: zip-a-dee-nada. It was in a hotel in a European city, so I tried googling that, and reversed some lobby shots, but the film was shot in the Oughts, and the place has been rehabbed, perhaps. End result: nothing.

Which would be the end point for just about everyone ever in human civilization up until a hundred and fifty months ago, so I suppose I shouldn’t be disappointed. If anything, it’s good news! Our expectations of instant image retrieval and instant answers are so high that the slightest gap, the teensiest lacuna (soon to be a delightful children’s book) makes us think we’re doing it wrong.

To be fair, the artist isn’t a major figure, and the work obviously isn’t a stunning A-list item that draws throngs, phones outstretched to record the image - or rather prove on the socials that the person who posted was, in fact, in the room with the painting, doing nothing but taking a picture to prove that they were there. But I am fascinated by the quantity of late 19th century non-academic / Anglo-Saxon paintings, all of whom have this stately upper bourgeoise quality that’s also soaked in a sort of tenebrous melancholy.

I think in most cases it’s the moody artist infusing a gloom into something that was probably rather cheerful - the women chattering away about things down in the village, family or financial matters, the new vicar, whatever. The artist has to drape crepe to make it meaningful.

The Nordics were no less melancholy, but there’s at least a winter-light / unfussy element to their work.

ANYWAY point being, when I was but a lad of 20 I had access to the major paintings through an immense survey book that did the whole planet, although of course it gave more space to Mannerism than the entirety of Japanese art. The study of great art was a highlights reel, a compilation album. The idea that you’d be able to see most of the works of gentlemen who were firmly, unquestionably Mid was something reserved perhaps for scholars, who had Special Access somehow.

But. Art was special in part because access was rare and selective. This was why going to an actual museum was an overload: so much! This is why the internet today is a brilliant museum in so many ways, but also on the cusp of unintelligibility, overloaded with a billion AI generations competing for your eyeballs.

VR will not reproduce the museum experience, simply because it’s virtual. As I mentioned before, my own experience with the wretched Metaverse involved a Museum program, which made you stand about four feet in the air - don’t look down - then click to where you wanted to go, whereupon you were thrown across the room as if a hook had descended and pierced your collar. “Standing” in front of the paintings was an utterly lifeless experience. There’s something ineffable about the process of real photons bouncing off a surface, hitting your eyes, translated into electricity, spirited along the wires to the relevant portion of your brain that deals with such things, and letting the brain rummage through its own archives for analogues and opinions.

I hate the screens.

On the other hand I live on the screens. What does this push-and-pull produce over the course of a day, and hour? Immersion and scatteredness, fascination and impatience. On the gripping hand it was a screen that first showed me this painting, and set me off, all because YouTube had a thumbnail of a man on a train looking at a book.

For the second week in a row I shelved a Wednesday Review of Modern Thought because it seemed like another pointless complaint, and I suppose I can post it on another site where such things have more interest. Except that it is simply not enough to note the exasperating examples of The Way Things Are these days, and somehow exasperation breeds futility, simply because the commonplace undoings are so frequent and institutional, so rote, so banal, that you despair of any change. It’s like realizing that you’ve been living in a house for 20 years, and while you were out each day someone came by and replaced a sturdy timber with pressed sawdust. The house still stands but now you wonder what the wind will do when next a big storm rises.

Okay, I'm a grump today. Let's move along.



It’s 1891.

This newspaper is a duty and obligation.


Oh, not this again.

Finally, the truth can be told! I wonder what the pamphlet - the hitherto suppressed one - said.


The actual story:

Vetsera became infatuated with Crown Prince Rudolf (1858–1889), a married man 13 years her senior in 1888, after returning from Cairo following the death of her father. In November of that year, she managed to meet him and soon they began an affair. She was 17 and he was 30. Upon finding out, her family reacted negatively: her sister Hanna called her foolish, and her mother was enraged, accusing her of compromising herself and ruining the lives of all of her family members.

Vetsera appears to have been deeply in love, maybe even thinking that she was a credible threat to her lover's wife, Crown Princess Stéphanie (1864–1945). Meanwhile, Rudolf was involved in a long-term relationship with actress Mizzi/Mitzi Kaspar (1864–1907). It was to Kaspar that Rudolf first proposed a suicide pact, to which she reacted with a laugh. Later, Kaspar went to the police, concerned for the safety of the heir to the throne, but she was dismissed and told not to interfere with imperial affairs.

The miserable rake popped her first, then ate the barrel. The Myerling incident. But now I’m interested in the others: Supposedly Kaspar was Rudolph’s True Love of his Life. Her wikipedia entry says she was an actress and possibly a prostitute, and she died of the French drip. Stephanie would go on to remarry, lose most of her royal privileges, and die behind Soviet lines in 1945.

The headline seems to miss the real story here.

  All the cliches: drunk, hiding in the closet, and the gentlemanly demurral to prosecute. Eh, I had it coming.

  I don’t know why the end of this amuses me so, but it’s just frank and honest.

The Sherman anti-trust act had been passed the previous year, and stories like this, I imagine, set the stage for popular support of busting up Standard into the Seven Sisters.

They ran this on the editorial page. Why? Perhaps because he was dead now.


Louis Paulsen (15 January 1833 in Gut Nassengrund near Blomberg, Principality of Lippe – 18 August 1891) was a German chess player. In the 1860s and 1870s, he was among the top players in the world. He was a younger brother of Wilfried Paulsen.

Paulsen was one of the first players to challenge the notion that an attack could be constructed out of brilliance. He put forward the idea that any brilliant attack would have failed against correct defence. His ideas were grasped by Wilhelm Steinitz, who declared that attack and defence have equal status, and particularly by Aron Nimzowitsch, who listed Paulsen among his six greatest "purely defensive players”.

Poor fellow; his wikipedia page is all about his chess moves, and not a word about his personal life.

What is the value of these old papers? Why, the news of the day, of course - and also the need to fill the space with smaller stories, in which people lost to history make a brief appearance before stepping back into the void.

For eac of these fellows who managed to make it into print, there were a million lives unnoted.


At least as long as there is baseball.

Can we get some info from that name? We can:

Edward Eiteljorg compiled a career record of 47 wins and 29 losses and a 1.95 ERA in his 85-game pitching career with the Omaha Omahas, Evansville Hoosiers, Omaha Lambs, Kansas City Blues, Terre Haute Hottentots and Grand Rapids Yellow Jackets. He began playing during the 1890 season and last took the field during the 1896 campaign.

Idle Dorg.

Tiny note on the back page:

Archibald Clavering.

Archibald Clavering Gunter (25 October 1847 – 24 February 1907) was a British-American writer primarily known today for authoring the novel that the film A Florida Enchantment was based upon, and for his hand in popularizing "Casey at the Bat". He clipped the original publication of the poem from the San Francisco Examiner and passed it on to DeWolf Hopper, whose performances brought it fame.

About that “Mr. Barnes” dramatization:

If anything could save a hopeless play it would be such delightful acting as Miss Emily Rigl did at the Broadway Theatre last evening; but nothing human could redeem such a dramatic monstrosity as Archibald Clavering Gunter's play called "Mr. Barnes of New-York." People who read the novel fondly fancied that there could be nothing worse than that; but they had not measured the possibilities of the stage.

The N Y Times noted that the "audience was suspiciously ecstatic in its enthusiasm."

It’s amazing what we know, isn’t it? Or rather what we can know, if we want to.

Thanks to newspapers.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do. Back to Cleveland for some Sheraton Swank now.



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