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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have You Seen Me? (Part Two!)

Romany Marie, Robert Winthrop Chanler
Romany Marie's, Stuart Davis, 1912
Part two in an irregular series featuring lost or misplaced art work. This time we look at “Romany Marie’s" by Stuart Davis (above right). The painting depicts one of the many cafes owned by Marie Marchand, known as Romany Marie to her friends and patrons. Marie was an immigrant from Romania, arriving in the United States in the early 1900s. She ran several restaurants in Greenwich Village, catering to artists, writers, and other intellectuals of the time. She prided herself in bringing together the "thinking minds" of the city to her cafes and restaurants (referred by many as being more like salons). On any given night, one could hear an informal lecture, or chat with a noted playwright, museum curator, or sculptor.

You can also see a portrait of Marie Marchand from the Juley collection, done by Robert Winthrop Chanler. Chanler was a well regarded muralist who moved to working in portraiture towards the end of his career. As you can see from his many portraits, his style seemed to be more focused on capturing the spirit of the sitter, rather than sticking to a realistic depiction. His work also sometimes included mini-biographies.

Rachel Brooks
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum

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