Sunday, June 15, 2008

Genius and Madness

I had surgery on my right leg Friday and have had to be off my feet, so I've had time to finish reading this biography of turn of the century painter, R.A. Blakelock, an artist I knew nothing about. Posted here are a few of his mystical moonscapes. He had a spiritual connection to nature and was a Swedenborgian. This is a religion I also knew nothing about - a radical and mystical form of Christianity (sounds much like the early church, 1st - 4th century, pre Constantine...) and I've been researching that a bit as well while reading this biography. Blakelock developed schizophrenia later in his life and is often described as "the American Van Gogh." He was institutionalized for 14 years while his wife and nine children lived in poverty - meanwhile his paintings were being sold for record amounts at art auctions. A woman named Sadie Filbert, who posed as the socially prominent Beatrice Van Rensselaer Adams, stepped in at this point to exploit the situation. I don't want to give the whole story away, so I'll say no more. It's a fascinating read.


Rob S. said...

Never heard of this man, either. Sounds like a fascinating read! Sorry to hear about your leg - hope you recover super-quick!

Martha Miller said...


cobblerofwords said...

This is my great, great grandfather :)