Wednesday, September 24, 2008

American Lives

Meatpacking district, looking towards Pastis. 9:00 PM. Photo: JH.
9/24. Wednesday. The 112th anniversary of the birth of Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald in St. Paul Minnesota. A descendent of Frances Scott Key who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner,” F. Scott Fitzgerald, known as Scott, published his first novel, “This Side of Paradise,” when he was 24. His masterpiece, “The Great Gatsby,” was published five years later.

Credited with coining the term “The Jazz Age,” referring to the gin and whiskey-soaked days of Prohibition known as the Roaring 20s which he and his wife Zelda symbolized as celebrities of the time. By his thirties, the revelries had given way to Scott’s alcoholism and the tragedy of Zelda’s mental illness. The great literary success of his youth had faded to has-been-ism: he was a broken man, living in Hollywood eeking out a living as a screenwriter which he found degrading.

F. Scott Fitzgerald
Defeated by his fateful circumstances, prone to self-pity, he wrote famously of his nadir: “There are no second acts in American lives.” When he died in Los Angeles at age 44 in December 1940, royalties from his books amounted to a few dollars for the year. Since then, his books, and especially “Gatsby” which is a constant best seller and required reading in many high schools and colleges, and which many consider the greatest American novel of the 20th century, now sell in the millions of copies.

Coincidentally, Nathanael West, a friend of Fitzgerald and author of another seminal American novel, “The Day of the Locust ” (published in 1939), died, along with his wife Eileen McKenney, in an automobile accident while driving from El Centro, California to Los Angeles to attend Fitzgerald’s funeral.

Yesterday was an especially beautiful first day
of autumn in New York – sunny and mild, with a slight chill in the breeze, reminding that the woolens will be soon be out. The social calendar was running full throttle.

Yesterday noontime, traffic gridlock and all, the fashionable women of New York attended the Madison Square Boys & Grils Club Purses & Pursenalities Luncheon at the Metropolitan Club with their favorite milliner Eric Javits emceeing.

In the early evening, down at the newly re-designed and refurbished Museum of Art and Design on Columbus, Empress Farah Diba Pahlavi and Princess Marianne Bernadotte of Sweden were guests of honor at the opening.

Over at the New York Hilton, the New York Police & Fire Widows and Children’s Benefit Fund was holding their 23rd annual dinner.

While over at the Plaza, the Institute of International Education 2008 Gala was honoring Her Royal Highness Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan and Alcoa Corporation.

While uptown on East 115th Street, Rao’s the legendary restaurant was the site of the 7th Annual Night Out at Rao’s, a fundraiser for the National Museum of Catholic Art and History.

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Annual Skin Sense
Award Gala was held at the Pierre.

Down on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street, at the Forbes Building, there was a dinner celebrating the opening of the National Jewelry Institute’s Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization Exhibition which will run through December 31st (see NYSD 9.16.08).
The dining room decorated with pomegranate centerpieces for the opening of the National Jewelry Institute’s Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization Exhibition at the Forbes Gallery (Pomegranate shaped jewelry is a common motif in the repertoire of late Canaanite jewelry).
The National Jewelry Institute was founded by Judy Price, a prominent New Yorker who founded and ran Avenue magazine for a quarter century before selling it a few years ago. Avenue was an innovative publication at the time of its founding and in many ways the NJI is also, since is the the first organization established to create and support museum quality exhibitions of contemporary and historically significant jewelry. This current exhibit at the Forbes Gallery is a collection of the cross currents of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, whose faiths and precious objects have evolved together over the millennia.
Judy Price, Elizabeth Stribling, Kip Forbes, and Amanda Haynes-Dale Lou and Sarah Wolfe
Clockwise from top left: Pair of Earrings, Greater Iran, 11th to 12th century C.E., Gold, Friends of the Islamic Art and Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick Gift, 2006, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Appliqués, Unkown, 14th to 13th century B.C.E., Gold. Gifts of Jonathan Rosen, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Goat figurine, Iran 12th to 13th century C.E., Gold. Bequest of Ann Tembach, New York, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Necklace with Medallion Pendant and Armlet with Medallions
Byzantium, late 6th century C.E.
Private Collection
Necklace and Anklet
Iran, 6th to 8th century and 9th to 12th century C.E.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Necklace Elements
Iran, late 14th to early 15th century C.E.
Gold, turquoise, gray chalcedony, glass
Rogers Fund, 1989
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Susa, 3600 to 3100 B.C.E
Limestone, shale
Musée du Louvre
Michelle Rosenfeld and Judy Agisim Elizabeth Stribling and Peter Price Karen Telwar and Ajit Hutheesing
Deir al-Balah, 13th Century B.C.E.
Carnelian, gold
Gift of Tamar and Teddy Kollek
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Uruk, Layer III, late 4th to early 3rd millennium B.C.E.
Rock crystal
The State Museums of Berlin,
Museum of the Ancient Near East
Michele Gerber Klein Tracy Cox and Rebecca Selva Corice Arman and Jason Wright
Afghanistan, late 3rd millenium to early 2nd millenium B.C.E.
Steatite, ceramic
Musée du Louvre
Necklace with Cross Pendant
Byzantium, 6th to 7th Century C.E.
Gold, oriental pearls, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, spinels, amethysts, colored glass
private collection
Meanwhile ninety blocks up the avenue at the Museum of the City of New York at 103rd and Fifth, the Director’s Council of the museum was holding its annual autumn gala, “New York After Dark” party with cocktails, buffet supper (by Abigail Kirsch – delicious) and dancing. The evening was attended by more than 500 and raised more than $300,000. It was sponsored by Leviev and J. Mendel.

Director’s Council Chairmen were Mark Gilbertson, Phoebe Gubelmann, Cynthia Lufkin, Heather Mnuchin, Calvert Moore, Allison Rockefeller, Andrew Roosevelt and Burwell Schorr.

A number of the women attending were dressed in Leviev diamonds including Debbie Bancroft, Amy Fine Collins, Jennifer Creel, Whitney Fairchild, Somers Farkas, Marjorie Gubelmann, Rachel Hovnanian, Dayssi Kanavos, Celerie Kemble, Cynthia Lufkin, Shafi Roepers, Jill Roosevelt, Amanda Ross and Julie Weld.

The Museum’s gala gatherings are a mixture of old friends and new. Many of the Director’s Council supporters have been attending for more than a decade and many have known each other since school days.

Roger Webster, Wendy Carduner, and Ara Hovnanian Charlie Urstadt, Hilary Dick, and Todd Romano Polly Onet and Martha Glass
Rachel Hovnanian making the rounds ...
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos Jennifer Creel James and Whitney Fairchild with Mark Gilbertson
James and Gillian Prentice Alina Cho and Greg Calejo Phoebe Gubelmann and Georgina Schaeffer
Muffie Potter Aston with Somers Farkas; Amy Fine Collins; Tatiana Platt, Debbie Bancroft, and Patty Raynes
Libby Fitzgerald and Karen Glover Bronson Van Wyck and Polly Onet Jamee Gregory
Valesca Guerrand Hermes and Shoshanna Lonstein Wilbur and Hilary Ross
Cynthia and Dan Lufkin Scott Currie and Marjorie Gubelmann John and Nina Richter
Andrew Saffir and Olivia Chantecaille Gillian and Sylvester Miniter Elizabeth Saint-Amand and Mark Gilbertson
Thierry Chaunu Roric Tobin, Sue Chalom, and Geoffrey Bradfield
Jill Roosevelt Amy Hoadley Andrew and Lesley Heaney
Vicky Ward, Lara Harris, and Marina Rust Connor Hilary Duff

Photographs by JH, DPC, and Ann Watt.
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