Royal Rosamond Press was founded in 1997 as a newspaper dedicated to the protection, and the preservation of The Arts. The attack upon the Rosamond-Benton Creative Legacy began minutes after my late sister, Christine Rosamond Benton, was pronounced dead. My un-talented brother and sister kept me from the meeting that was held in my famous sister’s house in Pebble Beach. They got behind a Art Forger and her biography that another ghost writer completed. Not once is the world-famous artist Thomas Hart Benton, mentioned in their book if lies.
Today, I announce I am the protector and preserver of Thomas’ artistic legacy, and guardian-caretaker of the Lost Synchromism Movement co-founded by Stanton MacDonald Wright. This movement is under attack by Oscar de la Torre and AIM.
Today I saw our black President give a speech for the 150th Anniversry of the Emancipation of Slaves. However, my kindred, Jessie Benton, and her husband, John Fremont, emancipated the slaves of Missouri several years before.
“Latino activist Oscar de la Torre declared war on the 74-year-old art work last week and vowed to launch a campaign to “take this mural down”
Calling it “the Santa Monica confederate flag,” De la Torre said the mural is an insult to Native Americans because it shows them “bowing down to the Spaniards who came and oppressed and murdered and committed genocide in the Americas.”
When you look to the source of the water from which the people drink you see a waterfall that is rendered in the style of Chinese and Japanese paintings. This is deliberate. Is Stanton recognizing the Asian roots of Native Americans? Yes. He is not re-routing these roots to men of the cross as Oscar claims. I think he came to demonstrate at the Santa Monica City Hall, where he, or someone pointed out Stanton’s mural, and, how it could be used to keep funding for Oscar’s cause.
I believe Oscar then contacted the American Indian Movement to bring more pressure on the elected officials. What is truly Synchromistic is that Stanton’s interest in Asia gives come credence to the establishment of Japantown in the Sawtelle, where proponents used terms like “our ancestors”.
“It’s a broad-based, historical commemoration of our ancestors settling Sawtelle 100 years ago,” said the 76-year-old Tanaka.”
“In 1998, Governor Wilson signed senate bill SB 1956. The Bill, introduced by Senator Tom Hayden, required the California Department of Parks and Recreation to, “seek to establish a permanent cultural and ecological site at the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs”, and called for the creation of a task force created by University High School’s administration, “in consultation with the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs Foundation and the Los Angeles Unified School District”. The bill appropriated $50,000 to the department to be spent on a local assistance grant to the task force, “to plan for the preservation of the Gabrielino/Tongva Springs, and property adjacent thereto…in order to enhance environmental, cultural, and educational opportunities.”
Here are the ancestors of my niece, Drew Benton, taking California.
Here are the ancestors of my friend Virginia, who once owned the Louisiana Territory.
ISIS is destroying priceless art treasures as activists for a radical brand of Islam. What they don’t destroy, they sell in order to purchase weapons that are used to murder men who protect their wives and daughters from evil men who would capture them and sell them into slavery.
Here is the hand of Thomas Benton throwing a lasso. He is trying to capture The Dragon of Sychromism. I believe I have a tiger and the end of my rope! I truly own something that is immortal – after I returned to the source, the well of my inspiration, to my first Muse, Marilyn Reed. It is my hope to establish ‘Little Bohemia’ in the Sawtelle where I had my first art show at the New Balladeer, where my late friend, Bryan McLean, played in 1964. This was the beginning of a New Sound and Age of Free-forming Colors that established a Revolution that continues to flow to the sea.
Synchromism was founded by Stanton MacDonald Wright (Fig. 1) and Morgan Russell, while they were in Paris during 1912. Together they created the first official works, produced anywhere, which were considered ‘nonrepresentational’. Simply put, Synchromism was a method of painting that set itself apart by using fractured forms and rich colors ; based on using the color theories of Tudor Hart along with the sculptural qualities of Michelangelo.
Synchronicity is a concept first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related. During his career, Jung furnished several slightly different definitions of it.
Jung variously defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting (togetherness) principle,” “meaningful coincidence”, and “acausal parallelism.” He introduced the concept as early as the 1920s but gave a full statement of it only in 1951 in an Eranos lecture.
Benton initially met Wright in the winter of 1909, and immersed himself in the Synchromistic methods. Unfortunately, the only way we can now examine the influence of this time period had on his work is by drawing conclusions from his later work, as much of the work created from 1914-1917 was destroyed in a fire at his home in Neosho Missouri in 1917.
Macdonald-Wright was one of the first of many muralists working in the 1930’s to slant his historical presentation to local achievements. He set noted Santa Monicans, actors Gloria Stuart (b. 1910) and Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), before a backdrop that is a glorious panorama of Santa Monica Bay. Motion pictures not only represented a hometown industry to Macdonald-Wright but also related to his life-long experiments with film and color. Other autobiographical elements appear in other panels. The lariat thrower is his friend, artist Thomas Hart Benton; the dog in the prologue is his own; and the painter at an easel is his father, to whom the mural is dedicated.
“It’s a broad-based, historical commemoration of our ancestors settling Sawtelle 100 years ago,” said the 76-year-old Tanaka, who told us he was born and raised in the community. “It’s in recognition of the fact that they were some of the first settlers to Sawtelle Boulevard. My dad was one of those who came to Fourth Street, or Sawtelle Boulevard, when it was a dirt road.”
Today’s official boundaries include Santa Monica Boulevard to the north (it could be argued that Ohio Avenue or even Wilshire Boulevard would be more apropos, given the historic community structures north of Santa Monica, including University High School and the Veterans Affairs’ West Los Angeles Medical Center), Pico Boulevard to the south, Centinela Avenue to the west and the 405 freeway to the east.
At the turn of the century, Japanese immigrants settled there because other communities, including Westwood, Bel-Air and Brentwood, excluded minorities. A letter written by local City Councilman Mike Bonin supports the name change and notes the following:
Japanese-Americans began arriving in Los Angeles in the 1890s, with many fleeing anti-Asian persecution in San Francisco. … In the 1920s, cultural, community and religious organizations like the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle, West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple and United Methodist Church formed to support this vital community.
Contrary to the typically European-centered attitudes of most American muralists of the time, Macdonald-Wright’s interests were wide-ranging. He was as well versed in Asian philosophy as he was in Western modern painting, appreciating various cultures with equal passion. Indeed, it was in the 1930’s that he began seriously exploring the arts and religious beliefs of Asia through reading and travel. In his painted history of humanity’s accomplishments, he balanced emblems from the West with those of the East. His choice of personalities (both actual and mythical) demonstrated his multicultural perspective: from Aristotle and Socrates to Confucius, Buddha and LaoTzu.
In conclusion, the link between Thomas Hart Benton and the Synchromist movement, Is one that stands not to be forgotten. For no person lives in a vacuum, but are influenced of by their surroundings. Even a ‘good ol’ boy’ from Missouri who dared to break away from his traditional art training, and jump from the safe edge into the unknown. Yet after we look at the examples above, the influence of Synchromism can not be denied. One can not see it them merely as coincidence, but rather something much more that should be examined and acknowledged.(Fig. 2, 3)
Eventually Benton’s work with the Synchromists was shown in the highly selective New York, ‘Forum Exhibit’ of 1916. His works, in his own words were…’created using the Tudor Hart’s color system’ Following the Synchromist practice at the time. I based the composition of these pictures on Michelangelo sculpture. However, as the multiple-figure composition was again occupying my thoughts. I selected Michelangelo’s early relief the ‘Battle of the Centaurs,’ rather than a single figure to serve as a model for my k
Throughout Benton’s career Michelangelo’s work continued to be a major influence. Intrigued with the three dimensional form, Benton began creating sculptures and began to make dioramas (or miniature scene) of intended two dimensional works. He would begin by forming clay models, which were somewhat like a relief sculpture (projecting slightly from the surface). He would then create numerous drawings from the models, if the idea presented did not translate well to two dimensions, he would rework it until it did.
Benton’s work expresses the influence of the Synchromists in his choice of color palette and composition, particularly in his early work titled ‘Bubbles’. (Fig. 5) ‘Bubbles’ was created by Benton during 1916, during his direct involvement with the Synchromists, and is visually similar to the work of Stanton MacDonald Wright (fig. 6) This similarly can be seen by the use of the composition , and the circular shapes used to contrast the angular ones, along with the hues used throughout. The similarities can be seen in the upper and lower left corner, where the space is broken up in a similar fashion with curvilinear lines created with circular shapes that help to draw your eye throughout the composition. In many of Benton’s work there is a triad color scheme, again the physical rhythm of the human form that ties his work to Michelangelo, and the familiar color theme of red, yellow, blue.
Finally lets reexamine a few of his abstract work to help us see the correlation between then and his later work. In ‘Constructionist Still Life’, created in 1917-1918 (fig 10) there again is a triad color scheme, geometric shapes which later would be replaced by the human form. For instance in his work ‘Rita and T.P.’ (fig 11), although the colors differ, due to the central vortex, each composition is very similar and are easily interchange
Later, Benton was to claim he dropped the Synchromistic palette and focused his work on single figures and groups. Eventually the abstracted qualities become secondary and Benton would try and eliminate many of the abstract devices. In ‘Self portrait with Rita’ created in 1922, (fig 12) one can once again see the use of a triadic color scheme based on red, yellow, blue.
If one compares the work to ‘Bubbles’ created in 1916 the eye is following the same path throughout the image (fig 13), with the eye again following the curve of the letter ‘J’ up through the upper right of the image.
In 1948 two of the works created by Benton continued to carry on these same two characteristics previously shown in his work. In both ‘The Apple of Discord’ (Fig. 14) and ‘Poker Night’ (Fig. 15) the female is presented in a traditional Renaissance Michelangelo style. Once again the viewer is observing a red, yellow, blue color theme, as seen in his work while with the Sychromist. (Fig. 16 and 17)
In conclusion, the link between Thomas Hart Benton and the Synchromist movement, Is one that stands not to be forgotten. For no person lives in a vacuum, but are influenced of by their surroundings. Even a ‘good ol’ boy’ from Missouri who dared to break away from his traditional art training, and jump from the safe edge into the unknown. Yet after we look at the examples above, the influence of Synchromism can not be denied. One can not see it them merely as coincidence, but rather something much more that should be examined and acknowledged.
Opposite the entrance and among the first pictures that meet the eye is the group placed under the alcove arch. This entire group is a sort of prologue, and depicts the technical and imaginative pursuits of primitive man. Toward the left is the invention of the wheel, which with the invention of fire, was probably the first epoch making invention of mankind. Two other figures, one casting a noose, the other discharging an arrow from a bow, symbolize the desire of man to harness the blind forces of Nature, depicted as a great Makara. The lunette, fitting under the upper arch, represents the meeting of caravans of the sea and land to suggest the idea of the wide-spread dissemination of knowledge. Costumes of Mongol, Chinese, Persian, Egyptian, and Arabian and the Egyptian, Persian and Arab boats imply a varied cosmopolitanism. The beginning of the mural proper has its place above the lunette. As practically all our mechanical and technical development has had its inception in the Occident, Hellenic and Egyptian deities are used, for as Egypt was the sire of Hellas and Hellas the sire of Rome and Rome our own classical antiquity, these deities and all they imply were the culture impetus of the Occidental temperament. The first group (proceeding always toward the left) is composed of Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and the young Alexander (356-323 B.C.) (his pupil), Zeno, the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, and Socrates (cir. 470-399 B.C.). The fantastically limbed tortoise and Achilles refer to the strict logical progressus exemplified in Zeno and his contemporaries, a logic that is based but little on experiential observation and much on pure intellect. Such pure thought may be considered the basis for abstract mathematics, as well as representing Occidental man’s necessity of giving himself rational answers to irrational questions.
Group No. 2 – Roman engineering work. The aqueduct depicted is the Pont du Garde at Nimes, France.
Group No. 3 – Roger Bacon with an assistant. Roger Bacon (cir. 1214-1292) was the first great experimentalist in natural science and chemistry. He wrote on light reflection, tides, time, the possibility of steam vessels, the microscope and telescope, mathematics, celestial bodies, eclipses, and the composition and effect of gunpowder. His written works comprise Opus Minus, Opus Majus and Opus Tertium.
Group No. 4 is that of Copernicus (1473-1543), the real father of modern astronomy. His heliocentric theory overthrew the geocentric theory of the ancients. He was also a great mathematician and wrote the “Six Books on the Revolution of the Celestial Orbits.” To the left in the same group stands Galileo Galilei, the father of Mechanic, the first great experimental philosopher and the discoverer of Newton’s first law of motion. He partially described the second law of motion and showed the way to the third law of motion. He is the author of Sidereus Nuncius and “Letters on the Solar Spots.” He, too, was a great mathematician – discovered the laws of the pendulum and with his own telescope discovered the four moon of Jupiter.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is the last figure of this group. He is the master scientist of all time – discovered the law of universal gravitation, the three laws of motion and wrote the “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.”
Group No. 5 (on the west wall) includes the Marquis de Laplace (1749-1827) and Sir William Herschel (1738-1822). The former is the theorist of the nebular hypothesis (depicted enlarged in the might sky), a master scientist and mathematician, and author of “The System of the World.” Sir William Herschel may be called the first great observational astronomer. He wrote “Motion of the Solar System in Space.” On the mural he holds a paper with a drawing of the Georgian planet and its satellites.
Group No. 6 – Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and Professor Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). Faraday stands as one of the greatest experimental philosophers along the lines of magnetism, besides being the father of electrical science. He wrote “Chemical Manipulations and Experimental Researches.” Maxwell combined greatness in mathematics and physics. He continued the work of Faraday and proved it mathematically. His written works include “Matter and Motion” and “Electricity and Magnetism.”
Group No. 7 is a modern machine shop of electrical motors. The two heroic figures symbolize the negative and positive electrical impulses, the push and pull of all electrical current. They stand over a colored diagram of a modern motor which is wired from the first dynamo held in the hands of Faraday, its inventor. The figure in the center of this group is Mayor W.H. Carter, under whose incumbency the mural was started and finished.
The three narrow panels between the windows on the front or south wall depict respectively a modern city, a coal miner, (coal unloader, oil wells and oil separator in the background), a steel worker over whose head is seen a steel girder, and an airplane.
Group No. 8 is the “shooting” of a moving picture, with present-day “blimps” for deadening the sound of cameras, lights, etc. Gloria Stuart is the central figure. Leo Carrillo is in the background and his father, Judge Carrillo, is in front of him. Gloria Stuart was born in Santa Monica and the Carillo family is one of the oldest of resident Santa Monicans. On the left stands Director Frank Tuttle.
Returning to the starting point of the mural prologue and proceeding toward the right is seen the primitive artiswt carving on reindeer horn. He is seated by his mate (the family) and beside her is the figure of a young man with two wolf doges (domestication of animals). This group of three shows fear of the monsters that appear in the sky symbolizing the primitive belief in maleficent dieties.
Above the lunette and to the right are two oriental dieties—the eagle god of the Assyrians and Siva, the Indian Creator and Destroyer, in his eternal dance. As most of our legends, as well as our imaginative design and our faiths, have come to us from the East, the first figures of Groups (right) 1 and 2 are of oriental figures.
Group No. 1 – Confucius, the Buddha and Lao Tzu. These three men even today color the imagination and influence the art of some five hundred million people. Confucius (or Khong Fu Tzu) was a Chinese politico-ethical philosopher of the sixth century B.C. His works are still the greatest classics of China. The Buddha sired the great revolt against Brahmanism at about the same epoch in northern India and his teaching and precepts have caught the faith and the imagination of almost a fourth of mankind. Lao Tzu, contemporaneous with Khong Fu Tzu and the Buddha, interested himself only in the “superior man” and his book of five thousand ideographs, the Tao The King, remains one of the profoundest works of the human mind.
Group No. 2 – A panel of legends. The central figure is the Fox Spirit – basis of our vampire, lycanthropy and magic dual personality myths – the nine-tailed fox who
whose varied attributes are too manifold for so short a description; Europa and the Bull; Pegasus; the nymph and satyr; and the ghost fires that rise from the steaming ravine.
Group No. 3 – Mending the Royal Mosque at Isfahan. The Persian mosque is here used as the great imaginative form of architecture.
Group No. 4 – A pastoral scene of the early Renaissance with Boccaccio (1313-1375), whose novelini formed the basis of modern literature, as the central figure.
Group No. 5 – Michelangelo (1475-1564) with one of his most famous sculptures – a slave – in the courtyard of an Italian villa. Standing in the fore middle-ground is Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), author of the Divine Comedy, and the inspiration of the greatest artists and sculptors of the Renaissance. The two figures descending the steps are nephews of Senator Jones, the founder of Santa Monica; Mr. Harry H. Gorham and Mr. Robert P. Jones. Both are in Italian Renaissance costumes.
Group No. 6 – A bust of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) above the figures of Beethoven (1770-1827) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883).
Group No. 7 – A fantasy of the Rhine operas of Wagner with Brunhilda in the magic fire awaiting the coming of Siegfried. On Siegfried’s right is the god Wotan, and on his left three Rhine maidens.
Group No. 8 (south wall – A panel of the Rhine with headland. Panel of the artist’s father, A.D. Wright, at the age of nineteen, as a painter. On the back of his canvas is the dedication of the mural in Chinese ideographs. A panel of a dancer with theatre lighting.
Group No. 9 – A panel of famous executants on musical instruments. Samuel Lifschey, viola; Norris Tivin, double-bass; George Barrere, flute; Ugo Savolini, bassoon; Van der Elst, trombone; Carl Heinrich, trumpet, and Josef Franzl, French horn.
Karl Muck, famous conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is conducting.
The arch over the front door depicts on the left, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), and on the right, Dr. Lee H. De Forest. Poe inaugurated a new style in literature, the style of the ratio-cinative story, so eminently adapted to the contemporary temperament. He seems so eternally modern that the artist has clothed him in today’s habiliments, set him in a modernist interior and placed behind him in a painted abstraction in the manner of Morgan Russell. Dr. De Forest is the inventor of the audion amplifier, etc., which made possible long distance telephony. He also developed the talking motion picture, the phonofilm. His laboratory is situated in Hollywood. The artist in bringing these two men together has attempted to indicate the technical necessity felt by the imaginative artist and the imagination necessary to the profound technician.
All the landscape is of the California coast that stretches for one hundred and twenty-five miles from Santa Monica to the northern limits of the Gaviota Pass, and the shrubbery and trees are native to this same country. There are more than one hundred and sixty figures, of which forty-six are portraits.
|Henry Hibbard, Wood Work and Engineering
George Baxter, Photography.
August 25th, 1935.