Monday, October 3, 2011

Washington Social Diary

"The Stuyvesant Family Stables," which were in New York, by Henri Delattre circa middle 1800s.
by Carol Joynt

In addition to colorful foliage, riding to the hounds, point-to-point races, polo, and hunting of deer and quail, fans of the sporting life are about to have another good reason to visit Middleburg, VA. The end of the week will bring the gala reopening of the expanded and renovated National Sporting Library and Museum – a scholarly and artistic tribute to what the British like to call “country pursuits.”

Four hundred people are expected for the black-tie preview and dinner dance co-chaired by Jacqueline Mars and Anjela Guarriello. If you think you want to come you better have connections, because it is sold out.
The coveted invitation to the museum's opening gala. Tickets, starting at $500 and running up to $10,000, are sold out.
Turner Reuter. Assistant Curator Hannah Reuter.
Hannah Reuter with her mother, Dana Reuter. In addition to their devotion to the National Sporting Library and Museum, the family also owns Middlburg's Red Fox Inn.
Nonetheless, forever after the library and museum will be open to the public, and the opening exhibition, Afield in America, 400 Years of Animal and Sporting Art, 1585-1985, will be in place until January 14. The curators of the exhibition are NSLM board member F. Turner Reuter, Jr., and his daughter Hannah Reuter, guided by his acclaimed and comprehensive book, Animal and Sporting Artists in America. The book is being reissued for the occasion and is available online through the museum.

Turner Reuter, whose family has owned the popular Red Fox Inn for decades, and who also founded Red Fox Fine Art, has been a driving force behind the renovation and expansion. Others are involved, of course, but every time I’ve heard mention of the NSLM over the past few years Turner’s name was in the sentence. For him it’s not just a business but also a passion and lifestyle he’s lived since childhood. He’s also a former master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds.
The entry to the campus of the National Sporting Library & Museum.
Founded in 1954, the National Sporting Library
is about to celebrate a gala rejuvenation.
Those who made the Sporting Library possible; a veritable roll call of Virginia horse country legends.
This handsome whitewashed stone building (very Paul Mellon in style) houses the actual library.
The library and art museum are adjacent to each other.
The new wing of the expanded and renovated National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Va.
The Library, which has more than 17,000 books and 200 works of art in the permanent collections, was founded in 1954 by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and Alexander Mackay-Smith. Ohrstrom died that same year and his role was filled by his son, George Ohrstrom, Jr., who shared leadership with Mackay-Smith for the next fifty years. They were a good fit. Ohrstrom was said to have business sense while Mackay-Smith was the scholar.

In ensuing years, the individuals who have backed the endeavor are a roster of power, money and “hunt country” legend. In addition to the Ohrstrom family, the founding patrons are Forrest Mars, Sr., Jacqueline Mars, John and Martha Daniels, Jane Forbes Clark, Alice DuPont Mills, Paul Mellon, Robert H. Smith and Edward P. Evans. These aren’t names you’ll see in the gossip columns, but in certain rooms among certain people they are their own glossy gold standard.
George Ohrstrom Jr., who became chairman of the Sporting Library in 1954, the same year his father co-founded the library but then died. The portrait is by American painter Thomas Buechner. Library co-founder Alexander Mackay-Smith, who with Orhstrom Jr., guided the Library for 50 years.
The entrance to the library's research and book collection.
The library's vast array of sporting books has been built with generous donations from book collectors.
A comfortable, quiet reading area just off the Library's main room.
A force behind the renovated library, F. Turner Reuter, Jr., also edited the acclaimed 2009 "Animal & Sporting Artists In America," which is being reissued.
Appropriately, a bronze fox lurks on the Library's stone wall.
The NSLM’s current chairman is Manuel H. Johnson, the vice chair is Jacqueline Mars and the Executive Director is Rick Stoutamyer. The board has fifteen members.

The NSLM campus is practically in the heart of Middleburg. It’s possible to park almost anywhere in town and walk there, but the renovation includes a large parking lot. The Library is housed in a handsome whitewashed stone building that is reminiscent of the Upperville estate of the late Paul Mellon and his 100-year-old widow, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon.

It is a distinctive look but complementary to the red brick Museum that sits just steps away. Both are archetypes of “hunt country” style. The new addition is almost seamlessly joined to the original building. In addition to the museum and library, the campus is also home to the weekly magazine The Chronicle of the Horse, which calls itself “the country’s most comprehensive equestrian sport publication.”
The opening exhibition includes paintings and other works donated by museums and private individuals. This is "On The Wing" by William T. Ranney.
The opening exhibition is broken up into different categories of "field sports." The first gallery is principally birds.
Another gallery is "dogs." The picture on the left is by Theodore Marsden. The one on the right is by T.H. Hinckley.
An assortment of views of sporting and country life ...
"Up To Here In Hounds" by Robert Kuhn.
NYSD’s exclusive sneak peak was courtesy of Hannah Reuter and her mother, Dana Reuter. We walked the library and the entire museum. They pointed out how the exhibition is broken into sporting groups, each with its own gallery. For example, there’s the “horsemanship collection,” and the “steeplechase collection,” as well as “shooting,” “angling,” “foxhunting” and “pets.” Dogs are well represented throughout, second only to horses. There’s also quite a lot of bronze sculpture by, among others, Frederic Remington, Alexander Proctor, Henry Shrady, Elie Nadelman, Albert Laessle and Cary Rumsey.

While we walked through the galleries there was last minute work still being done and Hannah apologized for all the lighting not being fully in place. It didn’t matter. The rooms looked good. It’s easy to see where this Museum will be popular with sporting enthusiasts. But it’s not necessary to be blooded to enjoy the exhibition. In fact, it should be a big tourist draw, providing an authentic and compelling look at the components of the sporting lifestyle.
Second only to horses, dogs are well-represented in the NSLM's new exhibition. This group are by Gustave Muss-Arnolt and are in the permanent collection.
A Frederic Remington, one of the many bronzes in the exhibition. Foxhunting has its own gallery. This is "The Meadow Brook Hunt" at Woodside, the estate of James A. Burden in Syosset, NY, on Thanksgiving Day 1923, by Franklin B. Voss.
A cold picture of ice-fishing in the gallery devoted to sports fishing.
A marlin fights back.
Paul Mellon by James Wyeth. Michael Phipps in 1928 by Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson.
Marion DuPont Scott and "Wallace." Charlotte Haxall Noland, founder of the Foxcroft School.
B.H. "Ben" Hardaway III, "and his Midland Fox Hounds, with admiration and gratitude from your hunt members - opening hunt 1992." An upstairs corridor that connects the old building and the new building.
In the gallery focused on "pets," an A.F. Tait.
"Elk Refuge," painted in 1990 by Tucker Smith. It is 120 inches long and was loaned by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, WY.
"Digging for Marmots" by Robert Kuhn.
And what to do after? Well, that’s easy. Across the street Sheila Johnson has her Salamander Market with good coffee, biscuits, excellent mac n’ cheese and barbecue sandwiches. Or, stop by the Red Fox Inn for more art and a good meal. Ask for a table in the pub room by the hearth. If you visit on a Saturday, by all means step across the street to the Home Store for one of their maple bacon donuts. They are their own works of art.

The Natonal Sporting Library and Museum

Across the street from the Red Fox is the Home Farm Store, the "go to" for delicious maple and bacon donuts (but only on Saturdays).
Downtown Middleburg on a quiet Friday morning, pre-autumn color and pre the tourist influx. But they will come.

The modern debate over repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” began on the day of President Clinton’s first inauguration, when he said it would be at the top of his agenda, but he got push back from Congress, whose members turned the ban on gays in the military into federal law. Now, almost 20 years later, repeal is a done deal and service members – whatever their sexual persuasion – can serve and live openly.

Across the country there were celebrations on September 20, the day DADT officially ended. In Washington the party was held at a downtown club, hosted by Aubrey Sarvis and his crew at the Service Members Legal Defense Network, who for the past several years were at the forefront of the repeal effort, lobbying Congress and the White House, and raising money across the country.
The SLDN party just as it began. There was a long line outside and soon the room was packed.
Members of the House and Senate, and the Administration, joined the festivities, where Sarvis said the next step is the “fight for family recognition and benefits for every married service member. We will work to ensure that our military is equal for all.”

After a moment of silence for “those who have given their lives for protection of America,” Sarvis urged all his guests to join him in “celebrating for the rest of the evening.”
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall with Aubrey Sarvis.
Emily Tisch Sussman, SLDN's government affairs co-director. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the
SLDN party.
Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland, a long-time supporter of DADT repeal.
Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan with Air Force Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach.
The SLDN team: Paul DeMiglio, Zeke Stokes, John Goodman, Emily Sussman, Former AF Major Mike Almy, SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, and David McKean.
John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, represented the Administration and brought greetings from President Obama.
Ryan Kool, Trevor Thomas, Kyle Chapman, Allison Jaslow, and Aubrey Sarvis.
Former Sgt. 1st Class Stacy Vasquez, who plans to re-enlist, with Aubrey Sarvis and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Photographs by Chris Burch (DADT).

Carol Joynt's new memoir, Innocent Spouse, can be ordered from Amazon, HERE.