September Morn

on Sunday, September 02, 2007

It is the beginning of September and I noted a number of my blogging friends from the Northern Hemisphere are lamenting or at least marking the passing of summer. However, a few like me are ready to welcome September and the beginning of autumn. September has always been a special month for me. It seems like some of my happiest moments have been tied to this month or at least this season. In celebration of September, I offer this posting on the theme of "September Morn". Below is a famous painting by Paul Chabas and the music is by Neil Diamond.

"September Morn" by Paul Chabas


Quoted from Bonnie Bull
"On a September morning in 1912, French painter Paul Chabas finished the painting he had been working on for three consecutive summers. Thus completed, it was aptly titled "Matinee de Septembre" (September Morn). As was typical of his style, the painting was of young maiden posed nude in a natural setting. This time the icy morning waters of Lake Annecy in Upper Savoy formed the natural setting and the maiden was a local peasant girl. The head, however, had been painted from the sketch of a young American girl, Julie Phillips (later Mrs. Thompson), which he had made while she and her mother were sitting in a Paris cafe. Apparently, he had found her profile to be exactly what he was looking for.

The completed painting was then sent off to the Paris Salon of 1912 to be exhibited. Although the painting won Mr. Chabas the Medal of Honor, it caused no flurry of attention. Hoping to find a buyer, the artist shipped the painting overseas to an American gallery. It was here in America that the painting was destined to receive undreamed of publicity and popularity.

One day in May of 1913, displayed in the window of a Manhattan art gallery, it caught the eye of Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Horrified by what he saw, he stormed into the store, flashed his badge, and roared: "There's too little morn and too much maid. Take her out!" The gallery manager, however, refused to do so.

The ensuing controversy was given wide publicity by the press and the painting was simultaneously denounced and defended across the entire country. Meanwhile, curious crowds filled the street outside the shop straining to see the painting that caused such a stir.

Soon enterprising entrepreneurs were reproducing September Morn on everything conceivable: calendars, postcards, candy boxes, cigar bands, cigarette flannels, pennents, suspenders, bottle openers and more. Purity leagues tried to suppress it. Postcard reproductions were forbidden in the mails. The painting became the object of stock show gags and even inspired an anonymous couplet that swept the country, "Please don't think I'm bad or bold, but where its deep it's awwful cold."

The painting went back to Paul Chabas who sold it to a Russian collector for the ruble equivalent of $10,000. After the Russian Revolution it turned up in Paris in the Gulbenkian Collection. Ultimately the painting was purchased by Philadelphia Main Liner Willaim Coxe Wright and donated to Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum in 1957 after being refused by the Philadelphia Museum of Art because it had no significance in the twentieth century stream of art. It's estimated market value in 1957 was $30,000. The painting still hangs in the Metropolitan Museum as an example of 20th century French works and reproductions can be purchased in the museum's gift shop."

I had to disable Neil Diamond as he keeps insisting to sing even when visitors are looking at a different post. You can listen to him here.

31 comments:

Josie said...

LGS, "September Morn" is one of my favorite songs, and I absolutely love that painting. What an exquisite post. And thank you for the history of the painting. I have actually seet it at the Met in New York. The artist's style reminds me of John Singer Sargent, an American painter, one of my favorite artists.

Now I am going to go back and listen to "September Morn" again.

Welcome back.

Cheers,
Josie

Ruth said...

LGS..Neil Diamond is by far my favorite singer, thank you so much for playing "September Morn".

I too wish to welcome you back.

geewits said...

That's lovely. I'll look for it next time I go. I must have missed it this summer. Thanks for all the backstory. And welcome back!

Margaret said...

I'm glad September is here too. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. They both seem to have no extremes.

meggie said...

Thank you for a lovely post! Music & a wonderful painting, with history to go with it. Perfect!

leslie said...

Well, this is a lovely post, LGS. Thoroughly enjoyed hearing the song "September Morn" again - one of my favourites. And I really enjoyed reading the story about how this painting came to be. It is beautiful and I'd love to see the real thing. When Josie takes me to New York we'll go see it together. When we going, g'friend?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Josie,
I know a small handful of September songs which always come to mind at this time of the year but this one is the leader of the pack. Again, I don't know much about paintings 'cept what I like.

Ruth,
Snap! I went through a very long Neil Diamond phase. I think he has a great voice but his music and especially his lyrics was always able to surprise.

geewits,
I am sure you had too much to see when you were in NYC. Sensory Overload. But please do keep an eye out for this when you are there next.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

margaret,
Did I tell you that Eeyore was my favorite Winnie the Pooh character? I think he would have loved the dreary, blustery days of autumn too.

meggie,
Thanks. Too bad we can't do food and wine too!

leslie,
Thanks. You and Josie appear to be like a Thelma and Louise pair. You girls really spur each other on in a good way. You talk of Josie taking you to NYC but without you pushing I don't think Josie would go by herself.

HeiressChild said...

welcome back LGS. i'm glad you enjoyed your trip in the jungle. beautiful painting and perfect song choice to go along with it. i enjoyed reading about the history of the painting. there's always a story behind the arts, whether it be paintings, dance, music, etc., and knowing it always seems to make the work that much more interesting.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Sylvia,
Thanks, i did enjoy my trip to the jungle. However, I did miss going head to head with you on another of Josie's competitions! Art as with all things is meant to communicate a message or create its own story.

Janice Thomson said...

Good to see you back safe and sound Lgs.
I too love this painting...it evokes many feelings as a good painting should. I had read an article about that particular painting - funny how some do not understand good art.
Ah...Neil Diamond...his voice can send me into a world of wonder. I loved his movie The Jazz Singer.

PS: I love all the seasons Lgs but the change from one to another often makes me sad.

Gina said...

I wonder if Julie Phillips, had she known what kind of publicity her face was going to get,would have arranged in advance for royalites on the propaganda. What about the young maiden? Prolly never imagined that portrait would be the source of so much controversy. Or that millions of people would be gazing at her in the buff at the Met Museum of Art! The Society for the Suppression of Vice...amazing. Sounds like some of the mail my folks get.

Gina said...

Sept Morn is beautiful! The painting AND the weather. Have a great day. :-)

Proxima Blue said...

I agree. The fall is my favorite season. I love September and October especially. Lovely picture.

I hope this september will be full of all sorts of wonderful suprises for you!

I do my best writing in these coming months, so it will be difficult for me to break away and blog, but the stories are important to me.
Take Care!
-P

Open Grove Claudia said...

My goal for this year was to try to enjoy every season. Having grown up where there aren't really seasons, and spent 10 years where "temperature variation" meant it would be 68 instead of 72, Denver has been a challenge.

I've enjoyed this summer - laid in the sun a little bit, taken walks, adjusted to the heat. I'm interested to see what fall brings.

blackcrag said...

Just a note: That isn't Neil Diamond singing. I know his voice, and that certainly isn't it.

That being said, it is one of my favourite songs, partially because 'September' is in the title and I am born in September. I am also a fan of autumn in general.

The contorversy over the painting just proves the aphorism "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
As you say, a good painting evokes an emotional response. Something I am learning to appreciate because i am too often analytical in my approach. I can understand the sadness of the passing of seasons but autumn still rocks.

gina,
I think that the painting is great because it does make you want to know more about the girl in the picture whether it is julie Phillips or the peasant girl. Hope you are having a great week.

proxima,
Go worth and be fruitful......in your writing. Your absence from blogging will be our loss but we want to encourage you in your creative writing process.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

claudia,
That's a great attitude about enjoying every season. I do enjoy every season but winter can drag on a bit!

blackcrag,
Now that you mentioned it, I can't decide if it is Neil Diamond or not. His voice does seem on the high side but the music code source says its him.

Again since you brought it up, September is also my birthday month. There. The cat's outta bag. :) Happy Birthday to you!

the walking man said...

I will never understand the ruckus caused by this work of art or any other. Hundreds of years before this in a more deliberate style female nudity on canvas was commissioned or sold yet the morays of a people change and the artist is supposed to change with it?

Maybe in writing (not) but certainly not in the graphic art which follows its own periods and time lines. The female form takes up about a sixth of the canvas looks like there's plenty of morn to me.

How many times did 'ol Neil (ughh) record this song? More than once I'd be willing to bet and it will never sound the same way twice, might have had a rookie on the mix board or any of a number of factors, could have been a live recording with the audience noise removed? ever hear a studio cut of a group done live? Never ever sounds the same.

leslie hawes said...

Fabulous painting to start the month! Happy Birthday!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Mark,
Thanks for your comments. The human body is a thing of beauty. We should distinguish between art and pornography. Otherwise we might as well call all doctors perverts! Sadly, in Malaysia, there are some doctors who will only examine a patient fully dressed and will only touch a patient with pencils. They too would probably seek to burn this painting.

Leslie,
Thank you & thank you.

MedStudentWife said...

Lovely to see your post as the 1st, when I got home.

September is "my month" for many reasons and your picture gave a face to my feelings :)

Thanks LGS

Ruth D~ said...

The painting is beautiful September, a month of transitions, is beautiful also. New Hampshire folks think too far ahead to the winter that is coming, I bet.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

msw,
"your picture gave a face to my feelings ".....ummmm...you feel like posing naked for hours while standing in freezing alpine lake water?

Haha! Welcome back! Standing in freezing water will soon cure you of your newly acquired tan!

ruth,
Thanks. If New Hampshire folks are worried about winter, what about the crazy canucks?

Odat said...

Hey Welcome back from your trip..I hope it was comfortable traveling in the trunk (hehe)...
Seriously tho, that painting is marvelous...I love that one...I've seen it at the museum..but never bothered to get the history behind it...thanks !!!
Peace

eastcoastdweller said...

A beautiful painting indeed and I happen to like Neil Diamond, too.

I feel very sorry for people who can't bear the sight of the most spectacular creation in the universe -- a Woman as God made Her, bare in the morning light; as well as people who are so jaded by the grunting, animalistic posed exploits of porn that they can't see the difference between the two.

tsduff said...

She is lovely - any relation to Cracklin Rosie? heh heh - I'm a Neil Diamond fan from way back (oh yeah, HE is from way back). Really a beautiful picture.

Happy birthday - some of my favorite people are born in September, including two of my sisters. I'm a November gal myself.

HeiressChild said...

sorry about the missed competition LGS. of course, it was fun. see you at the next one.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

odat,
Trunk is the safest place on the elephant! Glad you like the painting.

ecd,
It occured to me that this painting would appeal to you. But it is a twisted world that seeks to pervert beauty.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

ts,
Wow, seems like there are a lot of Neil Diamond fans....from way back! LoL. Thanks on the birthday wishes.

sylvia,
look forward to locking horns, wits and words at Josie's next competition. :)

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