Friday, October 31, 2008


Crush International, as it is known today, was just a soda pop company in 1921. Its original name was The Orange Crush Company in 1916 when the business started. At the time of these advertisements, the company made three flavors of Crush, Orange, Lemon and Lime. The advertisements were published in a wide variety of magazines. Collier's, The Literary Digest, The Youth's Companion and The Christian Herald are just a sample of the distribution.
The Contract with Crush was the only contract Rockwell ever accepted for advertising work. The contract called for twelve paintings at a compensation of $300 per ad. That seemed and indeed was a lot of money at the time. After the first couple of paintings, he had to really stretch for additional ideas. He even tried reciting one of Crush's slogans, "The Delectable Refreshment," over and over for inspiration. More ideas for new paintings were still difficult. Rockwell also felt hamstrung by one restriction placed upon his paintings by the company. That restriction: the product had to appear in the painting and the label had to be legible and readable.
Rockwell gives his thoughts on the matter in his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator:
"By the time I got to the eleventh and twelfth picture I was dreamimg about bottles of Orange Crush Soda Pop - long lines of them - quart size, regular size, marching down on me with all the labels distinctively readable. A stampede of bottles. I'd wake up in the middle of the night screaming, ORANGE CRUSH, ORANGE CRUSH!"
He was apparently approaching the limits of his creativity by the completion of the twelfth painting. Norman Rockwell never again accepted a contract for multiple paintings. He felt another contract would again hamper his creativity.

Lemon Crush, The Home Run

A player for the New York Yankees has just hit a home run. The fans in the stands are ecstatic.
One fan, an older man on the front row, is so happy that he buys the home run hitter a Lemon Crush.
I do not know why Rockwell didn't paint the Lemon Crush bottles yellow. Maybe this particular flavor of Crush was clear, instead of colored.
The ad copy reads as follows:
Like Lemon?
Drink Lemon Crush.
Lemon Crush, like its companion drinks, Orange Crush and Lime Crush, is served delightfully carbonated and cool. These three drinks are delicious and dependable because their flavors are genuine blends fruit oils, fruit juices and citric acid from lemons, oranges or limes, granulated sugar, certified food color and carbonated water.
At Fountains or in Bottles
Guaranteed under all pure food laws, Federal and State.
Send for free booklet "How the 'Crushes' Are Made"
Prepared by Orange-Crush Co.Plamt and Laboratories, Chicago
Research Laboratory, Los Angeles
No doubt sales of Lemon Crush hit new highes after Rockwell painted for the company.

Lime Crush, The Bribe

A youn lady has just been pulled over by a policeman. Or maybe he is a sheriff. This was painted before police uniforms became commonplace.
We do not know her infraction. Maybe she was speeding. She certainly wasn't talking on her cellphone.
She offers the officer a Lime Crush. Maybe he will let her go. Or maybe he will drink her Lime Crush and then write her a ticket.
Rockwell actually painted the Lime Crush bottles green, instead of clear. There is another copy of the ad published in another magzine. That copy was published in full color.
The ad copy reads as follows:
Like Limes?
Drink Lime Crush.
This latest addition to the "Crush" family has a distinctive lime flavor, equal in deliciousness to Ward's Orange Crush and Lemon Crush. These flavors are blends of fruit oils, fruit juices and citric acid from oranges, lemons and limes.Get the genuine.
At Fountains or in Bottles
Guaranteed under all pure food laws, Federal and State.
Prepared by Orange-Crush Co.Plamt and Laboratories, Chicago
Research Laboratory, Los Angeles
No doubt sales of Lime Crush were boosted after Rockwell painted The Bribe for the company.

Orange and Lemon Crush:
One Touch of Nature

Rockwell's job for The Crush Company was to make sure that the Crush label on the bottle was clearly readable in the advertisement. This mandate sometimes limited his creativity.
Here we see six Crush enjoyments. All ages and genders are portrayed. We do not know whether these folks are all members of the same extended family. Or did they all just happen to be at the same soda fountain at the same time?
The headline "One touch of nature make the whole world kin" implies that they are not related by family. Their love and appreciation of Crush drinks is what has brought them together.
The ad copy reads as follows:
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
Like Oranges? Drink Orange Crush.
You'll register joy. too, if you always make it a point to secure genuine Ward's Orange Crush, Lemon Crush and Lime Crush. Sold in all good places - at fountains or in bottles.
Guaranteed under all pure food laws, Federal and State.
Like Lemon? Drink Lemon Crush.
The delicate and delicious flavors come from blending fruit oils, fruit juices and citric acid from oranges, lemons and limes, purest sugar and carbonated water.
Prepared by Orange Crush Co. Plant and Laboratories, Chicago. Research Laboratory, Los Angeles.
Without a doubt, retail sales of both Orange and Orange Crush achieved new highs after Rockwell painted One Touch of Nature for the company.

An Orange Crush

A young man and a young lady are enjoying a soda at the fountain. They are obviously enjoying each other's company. But they are also sharing a refreshing fountain soda with an orange tint.
An older patron of the soda shop arrives. It is July and hot outside. He notices the young couple and their orange soda fountain drink.
The older gentleman is sold! It's almost like the line from the famous movie: "I'll have what they are having!"
The ad copy reads as follows:
Like Oranges? Drink Orange Crush.
Deliciously carbonated drinks, each distinctive with the range of the fruit itself - such as Ward's Orange Crush, Lemon Crush and Lime Crush. Flavors are genuine - real blends of fruit oils, fruit juices and citric acid from oranges, lemons and limes, purest sugar and carbonated water.
At fountains or in bottles.
Guaranteed under all pure food laws, Federal and State. Send for free booklet, "How the 'Crushes' Are Made."
Prepared by Orange Crush Co. Plant and laboratories, Chicago. Research Laboratory, Los Angeles.
No doubt The company experiences exploding sales when Rockwell painted for the company

Young Girl with Orange Crush

It is July and hot as the dickens outside. A boy has just come inside. He is perspiring. He is hot. But most of all he is thirsty!
The first thing he sees after he comes inside is his sister. She is drinking a cool refreshing bottled soda. She is smiling. She is cool. But is she sharing?
We aren't told whether or not this is the last bottle in the house. Let's hope the household is well stocked with Crush. Otherwise we may have a begging battle on our hands.

Image: Copyright © 1921 The Orange Crush Company
Copyright ©2005-2008 Best Norman Rockwell
Graphic Files Protected by Digimarc.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Jules Rimet Trophy
(awarded 1930-1970

The FIFA World Cup
(awarded 1974-present)

The Bicycle Kick
Image from Black Sports Magazine

The famous overhead kick
Brazil vs Belgium 1968
Image from Grandstand Sports and Memorabilia

One poor little Brazilian grew to become the name and face of soccer around the world. Pele, the international champion soccer star, spent his youth kicking rocks, dribbling balls made of rags, and daydreaming of soccer greatness.Edson Arantes do Nascimento was far from that soccer stardom as he struggled through school and spent every free moment playing with his team, the Shoeless Ones - a natural name for a group of boys who simply could not afford shoes (Lesa Cline-Ransome).
Pelé's life story is the ultimate soccer dream. He began as a poor boy from the slums in Tres Coracoes, Brazil but earned fame and fortune through his talent on the pitch. Pelé's father, Dondinho, was very influential in his son's success. Dondinho was a former footballer and made sure to pass over his knowlege to young Pelé. This paid off and by the age of 15, Pelé was signed by Santos. His international debut followed just a year after on the 7th of July 1957 against Argentina at the legendary Maracanã stadium. Merely at the age of 17, Pelé was recruited to Brazil's World Cup squad. At World Cup 1958 in Sweden, he first gained attention after his goal against Wales which clinched Brazil to the next round. Pelé proved that he wasn't a fluke in the following match, scoring three goals on France. By the tournament's final, Brazilian coach Vicente Feola was confident in the talented 17-year old. His two goals at the 1958 World Cup final ascertained his status as a soccer superstar.

Team Picture of Brazil
Brazil vs Sweden Final 1958 World Cup
Image from

Brazil vs wales 1958 World Cup
Image from

Brazil vs Sweden 1958 World Cup
Image from

Brazil vs USSR 1958 World Cup
Image from

Brazil vs French 1958 World Cup
Image from

Lap of honour 1958 World Cup
Image from

At the 1962 World Cup in Chile, Pelé missed out most of the tournament due to an injury. Brazil still managed to win the trophy. At World Cup 1966, Pele was once again was forced to permanently leave the pitch after being ferociously tackled.
After England 1966, many began to doubt the Brazilian soccer player and his superstar status. He made a triumphant return at Mexico 1970 by dazzling audiences worldwide. This was the first World Cup broadcast in color and was shown across an unprecedented number of countries. In front of over 100,000 spectators at Azteca Stadium and millions of TV viewers, Pelé scored the first goal of the 1970 World Cup final. That opened the floodgates to Brazil's crushing 4-1 victory and reclaimed Pele as the "King of Soccer".

A classic downward header from Pele
1970 World Cup
Image from

Brazil vs Czechoslovakia
1970 World Cup
Image from BBC Sport

1970 World Cup
Image from

Team Captain with the Jules Rimet Trophy
1970 World Cup
Image from

Team Picture of Brazil
1970 World Cup
Image from

Later in the 1970's, Pelé was signed by the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League. He eventually retired as the only player with over 1000 goals in professional football. Pele was the first commercial superstar of non-commercial soccer (

Pele playing for New York Cosmos
Image from

Born Edson Arantes Do Nascimento (better known as Pelé) is known as a legend and the best soccer player to ever play the game. An average-sized man, he was blessed with speed, great balance, tremendous vision, the ability to control the ball superbly, and the ability to shoot powerfully and accurately with either foot and with his head.

Pele Best Soccer player ever
Uploaded by tofinho29

During his career he played in 93 full internationals for Brazil and in all first class matches scored a remarkable 1,280 goals, second only to Artur Friedenreich, another Brazilian, who holds the world record with 1,329.
He scored an average of a goal in every international game he played--the equivalent of a baseball player's hitting a home run in every World Series game over 15 years.
At the club level he shattered records in Brazil. He scored 127 goals for Santos F.C. in 1959, 110 in 1961 and 101 goals in 1965, and led the club to two World Club championships. Pelé also holds the world record for hat tricks (92) and the number of goals scored on the international level (97). His statistics are all the more amazing when compared to today's top players who can barely score more that 30 goals in a season.
In many ways, Pelé was the complete athlete. With his skill and agility, he could have played in any position on the field, but he chose on wearing the number-10 shirt as an inside-left forward. He had great balance, which enabled him to dribble effortlessly around defenders, and his heading ability was remarkable.
On Pelé's retirement, J.B. Pinheiro, Brazil's ambassador to the U.N., said, Pelé had "spent 22 years playing soccer, and in that time he has done more for goodwill and friendship than all of the ambassadors ever appointed."
He was the 1978 recipient of the International Peace Award, and in 1980 he was named athlete of the century. In 1993, Pelé was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and is the former ambassador of sports in Brazil. He has also done extensive work for children's causes through UNICEF. In 2000, Pelé was named second for the "Sportsman of the Century" award (Ozzie Gonzalez,
Heroes walk alone, but they become myths when they ennoble the lives and touch the hearts of all of us. For those who love soccer, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, generally known as PelŽ, is a hero (Henry Kissinger).

Pele Biography:
1940 - Edson Arantes do Nascimento, born on the 23rd of October, in Três Corações, Brazil), best known by his nickname Pelé, is a former Brazilian football (soccer) player, and is regarded by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
1956 - Joined the Santos Football Club and stayed with the club helping the team to nine championships in 18 years.
1958 - Brazilian Cup final was perhaps his most famous match, with Pelé scoring two goals in Brazil's 4-2 win over Sweden.
1966 - First marriage to Rosemeri, with whom he had three children.
1969 - Scored his 1000th career goal on the 19th of November, in game in Rio de Janeiro; he went on to score over 1200 goals in his professional career.
1974 - Played his last game for Santos on the 3rd of October.
1975 - Became more famous in America, when he came out of retirement to play for the New York Cosmos of the infant North American Soccer League.
1977 - Retired again after leading the Cosmos to the NASL championship.
1994 - Second marriage to Assiria on the 30th of April and the couple have two children.
1999 - Was named Athlete of the Century by the world's combined National Olympic Committees, though he never played in the Olympics himself.
2000 - Named Footballer of the Century by FIFA. The award was intended to be based upon votes in a web poll, but after it became apparent that it favoured Diego Maradona, many observers complained that the Internet nature of the poll would have meant a skewed demographic of younger fans who would have seen Maradona play, but not Pelé.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento
Image by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom
Agencia Brasil

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Certain eras have certain faces, in illustration anyway. The 1920s and 1930s favored two well known in advertising and magazine-story illustration, when magazines were a major source of fiction. Below are the formally dressed, strong-jawed types readers saw all the time, with large eyes and noses, for the males, anyway. And the men usually had closed mouths, probably indicating control of emotion.
Most famous of all were the men in the Arrow Collar (later, shirt) ads in the U.S.A., by illustrator Joseph C. Leyendecker who lived for decades with his handsome business manager, a former model.
JC Leyendeckers's models for Arrow Shirts were so popular that they would received bags of fan mail as soon as they were introduced. Epitomizing the 'Modern Man', the Arrow Shirt men were one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history. The campaign ran from 1905 until 1930 without waning.

Arrow Collars and " Kebo - the new Arrow Collar "
An original J. C. Leyendecker ad for Arrow Shirts and Collars
more than 85 years old.
Manufactured by Cluett, Peabody and Company of Troy, New York
From DerbyCityPrints

Arrow Collars & Shirts

Leyendecker helped create modern branding when, in 1905, he lobbied Arrow to think less about collars and create "a unique male symbol for their products." What was called for was "not simply a man, but a manly man, a handsome man . . . an ideal American man." Model Charles Beach fit the Arrow Collar man role perfectly.
Leyendecker's early style -- a crosshatched brush stroke that turned soft surfaces into sharp planes -- reinforced Beach's chiseled good looks. When his dynamic crosshatching faded into softer fills, Leyendecker enhanced the manliness of his subjects in other ways: He lit a single light and oiled the muscles of his models for dramatic contouring.
Decades before feminist Laura Mulvey wrote about the male gaze objectifying women, Leyendecker turned his gaze toward handsome men and created widely circulated icons of masculinity.
(Nan Hunter at
Leyendecker's work depicts sartorial elegance, patrician demeanor, a certain frostiness, and an identifiable masculinity. Leyendecker’s Arrow Collar Man became one of first real advertising campaigns and produced the first sex symbol of either gender. In a campaign lasting twenty-five years, Leyendecker portrayed an archetypal American masculinity that was equal parts football hero and urbane man-about-town.



And along the way, advertising mirrored the changes. Oil paintings of men in their Kenosha Klosed Krotches by Saturday Evening Post artist J.C. Leyendecker were daring for 1911 and made history as the first national print ads for men's underwear. Most of the Men Shown in early underwear advertisements were fellows who ("Put hustle in the tussle!" as the Superior Underwear Company put it), men who were likely to put a lot of "strain" on their undergarments. Chalmers Knitting began offering mesh fabrics and two-piece suits that were cooler for summer.
As the industry moved toward 1920, the emphasis began to shift to convenience and comfort. Ads were full of "patented" new designs to reduce buttons and increase accessibility. Some early woven cloth union suits had open crotches, for obvious reasons of hygiene, often held closed with buttons. Then came the various closed crotch designs. Some just draped across the buttocks and stayed more or less closed due to fabric overlap. Others had a D-shaped flap down the rear crotch seam with a single button in the middle of the right buttock to keep it closed. Suddenly, "comfort" was the biggest news of the day

Arrow collar advertisement
The Saturday Evening Post
April 13, 1912
collection of boyblue

This is an excellent example of Leyendecker's origination of the modern sensibility in 20th century advertising art. Give the sweet young lady some heroin circles under her too pretty eyes and a stolid expression and this ad would almost work in GQ today. Leyendecker could be considered the inventor of upper class ennui and "attitude" in American advertising. We see it being born in this ad.
This is a trendy couple from 1912. We know that because they're in an elegant automobile, still a toy for the affluent. They have to be well-to-do and up on all the latest stuff. Her lovely hat tells us she is not only pretty but with it, the perfect ornament to a successful young man.
Her beau is smoking a cigarette in public, rather rakish even for a man at that time, since cigarettes were considered rather extravagant and slightly rebellious, just the thing for a young trendie. Notice the debonair way he wears his driving gloves. This dude has it together. These social butterflies could almost be on their way to catch the Titanic, except they would be a tad late, or to a party at Gatsby's, in which case they would be a tad early.
Early Arrow collars were usually plastic or cardboard and worn only a few times if you were a part of the "smart set." Being able to design a collar which was considered fashionable was hugely profitable for the companies which succeeded, rather like the razor blade business today. Wearing army issue cloth collars during World War I, soldiers learned you didn't have to put up with uncomfortable plastic and cardboard collars. They refused to wear anything but cloth after the war, which is what Arrow then began to produce.
(collection of boyblue at geocities)
Sometimes a single artist, perhaps even with a single powerful image, can define a generation. A perfect example of this is J. C. Leyendecker, whose covers for The Saturday Evening Post covers and other magazines, along with his iconic Arrow Shirt ads, became emblematic of the young, upscale, sophisticated Gatsby-era dandy (Linda Rosenkrantz).

Image from

Clothes speak volumes about the times we have lived through. Arrow's rich past is a reflection of the American fashion over the course of not one, but three centuries. From a one-room workshop in Troy, NY in 1851 to an international corporation with distribution in more than 90 countries, it is too fine a heritage to be forgotten.After more than 150 years, we salute all that has gone before us - the rise of "soft dressing", the fall of the detachable collar, the birth of the sport shirt and the influence of military uniforms. We witness the birth of sports - and with it, sportswear.Through the eyes of the Arrow Collar Man, we see exactly how fashion reflects and soothes the times we live through.Each decade had its challenges. Each era its fondest memories. From this vantage point, we look forward to a new century of understanding the fabric of people's lives and shaping the fashions they follow
In 1825, Mrs. Montague of Troy, NY- a wife whose husband's dirty shirts drove her crazy- changed the way American men would dress for the next 100 years. A blacksmith by trade, Mr. Montague demanded a clean white shirt every evening when attending to social activities. One day, Mrs. Montague, tired of laundering, cut off the collars of her husband's shirts, since only the collar was soiled, bound the edges and attached strings to hold them in place. The idea soon caught on. Not just in Troy, but across the country.
For Arrow, it all began in a one- room workshop in the town of Troy, NY. This is where Maullin & Blanchard, the originators of the business of Cluett, Peabody & Co., later known as the manufacturers of Arrow collars, started a small business. Within a few short years, the company, changing names a few times along the way, quickly became one of the most successful in the country. Dozens of shapes and styles became popular with names such as Coachman No. 2, Brockly and Chalco. Soon, the main manufacturing plant in Troy stretched over 357,000 square feet. It was the largest collar, cuff and shirt factory in the world. In 1897, President McKinley visited the plant and was astonished by the scale and scope of such a well-organized and modern factory.
But a new man was in the making. As the 1900's saw the increased availability of ready-to-wear clothing, the "sack suit" - the forerunner of the modern business suit - was being worn everywhere. The jacket fell straight and wide with narrow lapels. The trousers were narrow and cuffed. Young men of the growing urban middle class saw it as a sort of uniform, free from the constraints of convention. This new man was the Arrow Collar Man.

Arrow Dress Shirts and Collars
Image from

Image from

Image from

It was in 1905 that Charles Connolly, the advertising manager for Cluett, Peabody and Co., hired a commercial fashion illustrator by the name of J.C. Leyendecker to create a brand new image for Arrow. His creation was the Arrow Collar Man. A good-looking fellow, clear-eyed and dignified, Leyendecker's nattily dressed gentleman quickly became the symbol of the modern American man. He appeared in Arrow advertisements everywhere - newspapers, magazines, car cards and billboards. When he introduced a new Arrow Collar, men lined up outside storefronts across America to be among the first to have the latest style.

Arrow Collars Advertisement 1910
Image from

Arrow Collars
Image from

Arrow Collars Advertisement
Image from

Arrow Collars Advertisement
Image from

Arrow Collars Advertisement
Image from

Arrow Collars Advertisement
Image from

Arrow Collars Advertisement
Image from

Arrow Collars
Image from

While American men admired the Arrow Collar Man for his sense of style, American women adored him. So popular was this well appointed figure of Leyendecker's imagination, he actually got fan mail, mostly from women. He even got marriage proposals! At the height of his popularity the letters ran nearly a thousand a week - more than silent film star Rudolph Valentino. Thanks to Leyendecker's visionary ads, sales of Arrow Collars and shirts rose to $32 million by 1918.

Image from

Couple Descending Staircase
Image from

Demand for Arrow collars internationally began in 1912 with an order from Mexico. It wasn't long before Arrow collars from Troy, NY, were being sold in Cuba, Puerto Rico, various countries in South America, as well as Scandinavia and Holland.
When American soldiers returned home from World War I, they had grown used to shirts with soft collars already attached. Yet throughout the early Twenties, the Arrow Collar Man enjoyed more fame and good fortune. Women continued to adore him and wrote him letters as if he were a real person. In 1923, he was the subject of a Broadway musical called "Helen of Troy, N.Y." By the mid-1920's, 4 million collars with the Arrow label were being manufactured every week. Among the thousands of domestic shipments leaving Troy, it was not unusual to see cartons addressed to Siam (now Thailand), Belgian Congo (now Zaire), Java and Batavia (Dutch East Indies, known today as Jakarta, Indonesia).
In a few short years, American men who wore stiff, starched, stand-up collars were considered old-fashioned. The younger generation wanted something softer, yet presentable. Arrow responded with Golden Arrow Collars. But try as he might, The Arrow Collar Man was in trouble. By the end of the decade, a radical change was in order.
It came in the form of an energetic salesman from Chicago who eventually became president. His name was C.R. Palmer. His idea - to create a line of Arrow shirts. He believed that the millions of men who had been buying Arrow collars for so many years could be persuaded to buy Arrow shirts. The claim, "Only Arrow Shirts have the famous Arrow Collar" quickly became the advertising slogan of the day.
As the American man embraced "soft dressing", so did Arrow. The success of shirts gave the company the foresight and confidence to take on new challenges - underwear, knit shirts, slacks, shorts. Then, on October 29th, 1929, the stock market crashed.
the Sixties was a compelling reason to loosen up and live. It was the age of rebellion. London's Carnaby Street was fashion headquarters for the swinging set. But all across America, especially in California, counter culture hippies, who were protesting the war in Vietnam, wore tie-dyed t-shirts, flowered shirts, hip-hugger pants and sandals.
It was an infectious decade. Its exuberance infused businessmen's closets with color and pattern, especially men's shirts. By 1968, less than half the shirts Arrow sold were in white. In their place, were boldly striped shirts with white collars, vivid colors and sport shirts in rich, new patterns.
Like the times, Arrow looked to the past and embraced traditions that had begun decades ago. The renowned sports artist LeRoy Neiman took on the challenge of illustrating the Arrow Man, a duty that had not been performed since J.C. Leyendecker's illustrations stopped appearing in the 1930's. As the pre-eminent sports artist of his generation, Neiman's art brought a new exuberance and confidence to the image of the Arrow man. He helped to define who the Arrow Man was and who he was becoming.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Modern Library's 100 Best Novels is a list of the best English-language novels of the 20th century as determined by the Modern Library. In the spring of 1998 the Modern Library polled its editorial board to find the best 100 novels of the 20th century. The board consisted of Daniel J. Boorstin, A. S. Byatt, Christopher Cerf, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., William Styron and Gore Vidal.
The top 100 list was selected that committee that included writers Gore Vidal, whose books did not make the cut, and William Styron, whose novel ``Sophie's Choice'' placed fifth from the bottom. Ulysses by James Joyce topped the list, followed by The Great Gatsby and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The most recent novel in the list is Ironweed (1983) by William Kennedy, and the oldest are Sister Carrie (1900) by Theodore Dreiser and Lord Jim (1900) by Joseph Conrad.
The list purports to contain only English-language novels (in fact, 'Darkness at Noon' is a translation from the German).
A separate list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the 20th century was created the same year. A list of reader choices was published separately by Modern Library in 1999.

Board selections:

Best 20th century novels:

Ulysses by James Joyce
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Best 20th century non-fiction
The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Selected Essays, 1917-1932 by T. S. Eliot
The Double Helix by James D. Watson
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
The American Language by H. L. Mencken
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes

Reader selections

Best 20th century novels

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Anthem by Ayn Rand
We The Living by Ayn Rand
Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
Fear by L. Ron Hubbard

Best 20th century non-fiction

The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard
Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff
101 Things to do 'Til the Revolution by Claire Wolfe
The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life by Michael Paxton
The Ultimate Resource by Julian Lincoln Simon
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Send in the Waco Killers by Vin Suprynowicz
More Guns, Less Crime by John R. Lott

Criticism of the list includes that it did not include enough novels by women, and not enough novels from "Anglophone" countries (besides the US and the UK). In addition some say it was a "sales gimmick" as most of the titles in the list are also sold by Modern Library.
(Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA

It didn't take long for the Modern Library's list of the best 100 novels of this century to meet heavy criticism from the masses:
Released on Monday, the library picked James Joyce's "Ulysses" as the literary topper, with "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" rounding out the top five. Aside from the usual brickbatting that accompanies any list that tries to encapsulate a century, the Modern Library's rankings has rankled both women and people of color. Only eight female authors were represented in the top 100, and minority authors were noticeably scarce, despite a considerable presence in literature over the past 100 years.
"I don't know if this is the last great gasp of the white patriarchal male literary establishment, or if we are just going to try and bury all the wonderful writers out there," says Linda Bubin, co-owner of Women and Children First, a Chicago bookstore that specializes in feminist and children's books.
Bubin, while angered by the list, was not surprised. "We (women) tend to think we've arrived someplace, so it's good to remind people that the whole establishment is incredibly sexist," says Bubin. "And this is one more piece of evidence of that."
By CNN Interactive Writer
Jamie Allen
May 6, 1999

While Christopher Cerf, a member of the Modern Library panel that voted in the list, told reporters Monday that the list was created to spark debate and to get people reading, he also acknowledged his regret over some books left off the list, including works by Doris Lessing and Toni Morrison. The Modern Library's panel, a division of Random House, included Cerf, Daniel J. Boorstin, A.S. Byatt, Shelby Foote, Vartan Gregorian, Edmund Morris, John Richardson, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., William Styron and Gore Vidal -- seven men and one woman.
Message board response

A reader's poll on the Modern Library's Web site puts Ayn Rand at No. 1 and 3, with "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," respectively.
On CNN Interactive's message board, posts overflowed with questions regarding the list's apparent lack of diversity. The absence of Morrison and Rand was mentioned often. "I am surprised that the committee chose to omit African, Indian, South American, and Australian writers, many of whom write in English."
-- Micky Black
from the CNN Interactive message boards

"I scrolled down the list and noticed that F. Scott Fitzgerald's second mention on the list, 'Tender is the Night,' was ranked above the second female novelist mentioned," noted Kim Berndt in her message board post. "No doubt, F. Scott Fitzgerald is an incredible writer. But are you going to tell me that only one woman's novel (Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" -- ranked No. 15) was better than 'Tender is the Night?'"
"I am surprised that the committee chose to omit African, Indian, South American, and Australian writers, many of whom write in English," posted Micky Black. "Also, what about Arab writers? How about more women writers such as Doris Lessing and Isak Dinesen?"
While much of the faultfinding focused on the lack of women or minorities, some readers found other problems with the picks. Many noted that "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee was excluded altogether from the list of 100.
"This list must be a practical joke, either from the Saturday Night Live crew or perhaps Monty Python," posted Howard Paul Burgess. "'Ulysses' as the greatest novel of the century? Sure. And 'Plan Nine from Outer Space' was the best movie of the century, too. 'Ulysses' is the biggest pile of gobbledygook ever perpetrated on the reading public. I defy anyone to make sense of anything in that (admittedly, sometimes poetic) flow of words, words, words."
Other readers were reminded of the recent list of the top 100 movies this century, as compiled by the American Film Institute.
"This list is far more subjective than even the AFI's 100 greatest movies, or that insipid Time article about the century's greatest entertainers," Jimmy John posted. "You simply can't narrow down a century of books into one little list of 100. It's impossible."
Impossible, no. The Modern Library has done it. To compile a list that finds no critics may be the impossible task.
"Ulysses as the greatest novel of the century? Sure. And Plan Nine from Outer Space was the best movie of the century, too."
-- Howard Paul Burgess
from the CNN Interactive message boards

Exactly a third of the titles on the list of “best” novels, including 6 of the top 10, have been removed or threatened with removal from bookstores, libraries and schools at some point. The Grapes of Wrath, number 10 on the list, has been one of the most vilified works since its publication in 1939. Burned at the St. Louis (Mo.) Public Library immediately after publication, it also was banned from the Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Library because of “vulgar words.” It was challenged in the Greenville (S.C.) schools because it used the names of God and Jesus “in a vain and profane manner” and was banned in Kern County (Calif.) where the story was set. It continues to be one of the most challenged books in schools and libraries.
Other banned books in the Modern Library’s “Top Ten” include The Great Gatsby and Brave New World. Today, it’s hard to imagine a library or a school curriculum without these works. Fortunately, few books are permanently banned from library and bookstore shelves in the United States. Why? Because librarians, booksellers, educators, parents and others actively defend our right to read.
The fact that 33 books on the Modern Library's “best” list have been either banned or challenged is not surprising. School and public libraries regularly receive requests to remove materials from their shelves and reading lists. In fact, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom receives hundreds of reports of such challenges each year, with many more going unreported. Last year ALA tracked nearly 500 challenges on such acclaimed works as Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia.
These challenges are not just complaints. They are requests to have materials removed from library shelves and curricula, most frequently in our nation’s schools.
The controversy over the Modern Library’s list reminds us that great literature is very much in the mind of the beholder. What is intellectually stimulating to one may be irrelevant or even offensive to another. That doesn't mean that differing viewpoints should not be heard or that parental guidance should not be exercised. Rather, it means we must respect the rights of others to choose for themselves and their families what they find appealing and appropriate.
(Source: Ann K. Symons, President, American Library Association, 1998–1999)

Friday, October 17, 2008


Acclaimed Victorian artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836 – 1912) was born in Holland, lived in London and was known for highly detailed, idealistic scenes of ancient Greece and Rome. His popularity faded when the Victorian era ended, but his work made a comeback in the 20th century.
His name had been Lorens Tadema and Alma had been his middle name in Holland. His life followed a path similar to that of Victorian England. He was born a year before Victoria in 1836 and was knighted on his 80th birthday. Tadema was arguably the most successful painter of the Victorian era. For over sixty years he gave his audience exactly what it wanted; distinctive, elaborate paintings of beautiful people in classical settings. His incredibly detailed reconstructions of ancient Rome, with languid men and women posed against white marble in dazzling sunlight provided his audience with a glimpse of a world of the kind they might one day construct for themselves at least in attitude if not in detail. During his sixty productive years Tadema produced over 400 known paintings and had some success designing musical instruments as well. In 1980 a piano he designed for Henry Marquand of New York made 177,273 pounds at auction, making it to date not only the most expensive such musical instrument ever sold, but also the most costly example of 19th-century applied art. (Source:
Throughout his school days, first in Leeuwarden and later in Antwerp, Alma-Tadema seems to have been popular and generally in the center of things. Although intelligent and hardworking, he was no academic. Later he remembered the struggle between his artistic interests and 'the irksome routine of school life'. The only subject which interested him, apart from drawing, was history and then only those episodes which he saw as potential subject matter for an artist. Twenty-six small pencil drawings (c1848) on separate sheets of paper survive from this period.
His first commission, and earliest known oil painting, came in 1849 when the three children of Watse and Henrietta Hamstra asked the young artist to paint their joint portrait. It was done in secret as it was intended as a present for their parents. His success with Portrait of the three Hamstra children (No 1, 1849) was especially fortuitous because their father, Watse Hamstra was President of the Society for the Promotion of Painting and Drawing in Leeuwarden.
Leeuwarden did not offer many facilities for studying pictures. Sensitive to this and fearing that he might never excel because of it, Alma-Tadema attempted to visit every house in town containing paintings, and used every opportunity to see the work of local artists. William van der Kooi, who died the year of Tadema's birth, was the most impressive Fries painter of the time and his firm and elegant portraits must have influenced the young man
Alma-Tadema was no fool. He had the ability to remove himself from the pressures of his profession and lose himself amongst his friends. His working methods were so demanding and tedious that his frequent periods of 'letting go' ensured his continued mental and physical stability.
According to Millie Lowenstam, daughter of the engraver Leopold Lowenstam, Alma-Tadema was 'horrible' to work with: 'too much of a perfectionist and always demanded extra work of father. He was hot-tempered and could become excessively angry if details didn't run smoothly.' She went so far as to insinuate that Alma-Tadema helped drive her father to an early grave. He continually shepherded each etching through to completion, and demanded those in his employ to meet the same stringent standards as he set for himself.
His conscientiousness was evident in the frequent use of a large magnifying glass whilst painting the meticulously rendered flowers. According to Ethel McKenna, 'Every moment of daylight spent away from his easel is regretted.' He always rose at six in the morning to begin painting at first light even though he frequently stayed up late with his friends. Although robust, he consumed his own energies at an astonishing rate. A cycle of exhaustion often led to sickness followed by convalescence of the most pampered sort. The entire family was obsessed with health, and in the latter years one or the other were always absent taking cures at prestigious European spas.
He continuously reworked sections of his paintings to satisfy his own high standards. As one visitor to his studio remarked, 'I have seen Mr Alma-Tadema painting out a thousand pounds! He was, nonetheless, an excellent businessman, and one of the wealthiest artists of the nineteenth century . He was as firm in money matters as he was with the quality of his work.
He remained in all respects a diligent, if somewhat obsessive and pedantic worker. In his personal life he was an extrovert and a remarkably warm personality. He had most of the characteristics of a child, coupled with the admirable traits of a consummate professional. (Biography of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema by Vern Grosvenor Swanson, Ph.D. 1994)

Oil on canvas, 189470 1/2 x 31 3/8 inches (179.1 x 80 cm)
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

A Coign of Vantage
Oil on canvas, 1895
17 1/2 x 25 1/8 inches (44.5 x 64 cm)
Private collection

The Finding of Moses
Oil on canvas, 1904
54 1/8 x 84 inches (137.5 x 213.4 cm)
Private collection

The Roses of Heliogabalus
Oil on canvas, 1888
52 x 84 1/8 inches (132.1 x 213.9 cm)
Private collection

The author of over 700 poems and prose poems, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) continued well into the twentieth century the Decadent and Symbolist traditions of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Algernon Swinburne. Born in Long Valley, California, C.A. Smith was hailed early as a poetic prodigy, and compared to Keats and Shelley. He was distinguished by a sure and delicate sense of rhythm and a taste for exotic or archaic words. In this he resembled his English contemporary Rupert Brooke (1887-1915), who along with Smith combined a sensuous response to life with a world-weary attitude to love. In their love for the rare, the exquisite, the gemlike, and even the perverse, they might be described as fin de siecle.
Fin de siecle also is the subject, if not the treatment, of Alma-Tadema's delicately wrought masterpiece The Roses of Heliogabalus. There is no known connection between the poem and the painting other than the choice of the same incident from the life of 3rd century Roman emperor Heliogabalus (Varius Avitus Bassus). The episode is that of Heliogabalus literally (and fatally) smothering his guests in a shower of rose-petals. Alma-Tadema, unlike Smith, has eschewed the morbid connotations of this subject and focussed more on the frolicsome pleasures of the Roman aristocracy. Frolicsome was not the process of painting this piece, which took some time and labour, with Tadema having to import roses out of season.
C.A. Smith's poem is an interesting counterpart to Alma-Tadema's painting as it focusses more on the personality of the emperor, who is seen as something of a decadent aesthete. An exhaustive search has not turned up an individual called 'Christophe des Laurières', and is assumed by this author to be Clark Ashton Smith writing pseudonymously.

Clark Ashton Smith
Translated from Christophe des Laurières

He, the supreme idealist of Sin,
Through scarlet days a white perfection sought —
To make of lyric deed and lyric thought
One music of perverse accord, wherein
The songless blatancy and banal din
Of all the world should perish: he had wrought
From Vice a pure, Pentelic Venus, fraught
With lines of light and terror, that should win
The plaudits of the stars. . . . But prevalent
For him, above the achievable desire,
And Life perfectible by Sin and Art,
Such lusts as leave the Titans impotent
Allured, and Life and Sin, in worlds apart,
Were fair with suns of quintessential fire.
(Source: The Eldritch Dark)

The Discourse
Oil on cradled panel
16 x 10 inches (40.64 x 25.40 cm)
Collection of Fred and Sherry Ross

After the Audience
Oil on canvas, 1879
25 7/8 x 35 7/8 inches (66 x 91.4 cm)
Private collection

Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends
Oil on canvas, 1868
28 1/4 x 43 1/2 inches (72 x 110.5 cm)
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham

The Triumph of Titus
Oil on canvas, 1885
Private collection

Egyptian Juggler
Oil on canvas, 1870
17 5/8 x 26 inches (45 x 66.1 cm)
Private collection

A Dedication to Bacchus
Oil on canvas, 1889
30 1/2 x 69 7/8 inches (77.5 x 177.5 cm)
Private collection

Preparation in the Coliseum
Oil on canvas, 1912
60 3/8 x 31 1/4 inches (153.5 x 79.5 cm)
Private collection

Joseph - Overseer of the Pharoah's Granaries
Oil on canvas, 1874
31 3/8 x 45 1/2 inches (80 x 115.6 cm)
Private collection

The Colosseum
Oil on wood, 1896
44 x 28 7/8 inches (112 x 73.6 cm)
Private collection

The Roman Potter
Oil on canvas, 1884
Musée d’Orsay, Paris

A Collection of Pictures at the Time of Augustus
Oil on panel, 1867
Private collection

A Picture Gallery
Oil on canvas, 1866
Fine Art Society, London

Self Portrait
Oil on canvas, 1852
Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

Alma-Tadema's paintings are often criticised as lacking emotion and spirituality. The Art Journal complained that there was 'no spirituality and little intellect in the faces of men and women in his world.' In the 1920s the Bloomsbury Group singled out Alma-Tadema's work as an illustration of all that was wrong with Victorian art, accusing him of wasting his technical skill on subjects so futile, pointless and superficial.
Alma-Tadema's life was an enormously sucessful one in which he was made an RA, knighted and showered with honours from many countries. By 1911, however, his popularity began to wane. Realising that his work was becoming unfashionable he resigned from the Royal Academy committee, after serving on it for thirty-one years. In the following year he went to take the waters at Wiesbaden, Germany where he was suddenly taken ill and died on 25 June 1912. His body was brought back to England and interred in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral (London), where it lies in the company of fellow artists, Millais, Holman Hunt and Lord Leighton. Like so many artists before him, the grim realities of World War I helped to finish off whatever popularity his work had enjoyed, and it is only recently that his reputation as a major Victorian artist has been restored. (
One seldom noticed influence Tadema has had on modern art is the vision of the ancient world portrayed in such films as D. W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916), Ben Hur (1926), and Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), and Cleopatra (1934). Jessie J. Laskey, co-writer on De Mille's The Ten Commandments has described how the producer would customarily spread out prints of Alma-Tadema paintings to indicate to his set designers the look he wanted to achieve.

All Images: Courtesy of Art Renewal Center