An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Six

fiesta king 1913

Above, King Rex or Selamat, San Antonio Express, April 23, 1913

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1913

The Colonel slaps Albert Steves on the back. “Mayor, you might as well put a gun to your head tonight and get it over with.”

“Please accept my apologies, Albert,” interjects Sophie. “I believe he meant to offer his congratulations.”

“No,” answers the new Mayor. “My wife agrees with him.”

“It appears,” chimes in Otto, “the job is extremely bad for your health. Five mayors died in office during the past 18 years. The law of averages is not in your favor.”

“Gus only made it a couple of months,” adds the Colonel.

“Drowned in those fiery discussions about the Waterworks,” quips Otto.

“Lost his temper, he did,” adds the Colonel. “Scolded the Aldermen for behaving like a bunch of children playing in the dark.”

“You and Gus,” continues Otto, “are about the same age, so you don’t have long.”

“Stop it,” snaps Emma. “Both of you.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Six”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-Six

san antonio song
an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twenty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1912

“I do so love the spring season in San Antonio,” says Sophie Wahrmund. “This dedication of the Hermann Sons Home is as elegant as any of the parties we’ve enjoyed throughout Fiesta.”

san antonio song cowgirl postcard

Otto tucks his thumbs under his lapels. “This is particularly welcome after the Chamber of Commerce’s silly shenanigans at the Saint Anthony Hotel. They handed everyone horns and cowbells and made us parade down the street like fools singing…”

The Colonel bounces as though astride a horse as he launches into song. “She hopped up on a pony and ran away with Tony. If you see her just let me know…”

Otto joins in harmonizing the last line of the popular ditty, “And I’ll meet you in San An-to-ni, San An-to-ni-o.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-Six”

Postcard from Nervi, Genoa, Italy: Two modern art museums near the seaside

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

With one wall depicting sweets and attention lavished upon a good child and another the unpleasantness awaiting a naughty boy, Antonio Rubino (1880-1964) transformed a child’s room into illustrations seemingly plucked from the pages of a collection of nursery rhymes. The 1921 bedroom with a “City of Dreams” is but one of the unusual galleries encountered in Wolfsoniana, located in the seaside suburb of Genoa, Nervi. Here, among other things, we learned the Battle of Flowers is not unique to San Antonio; Ventimiglia is known for its Battaglia di Fiori.

The collection of art dating from 1880-1945 in this new museum reflects the interests of Miami-born Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. He opened the first museum showcasing his passions in 1995 in the Art Deco District in Miami Beach. As Wolfson became increasingly attached to Genoa, he moved some of his immense personal collections there. He considers himself, according to the Wolfson Collection website:

…a conservationist because of my desire to discover, but not possess. The challenge is to save endangered objects that are ignored or not held in admiration by others….

Before I decide to buy an object I think whether it belongs to the narrative or not. Truth and beauty don’t interest me particularly. I am interested in the language of objects….

It is the goal of my collection: “to make people think.”

…but I’m not interested in what you think: I shall simply be happy to have stimulated the birth of an idea within you, of a souvenir, a dream.

Mitchell Wolfson, Jr.

Nearby in the 15th-century Villa Saluzzo Serra, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna focuses on artwork from the beginning of the 19th century to contemporary. The base of the museum’s holdings came from Prince Oddone (1846-1866) of Savoy’s collection. The avid collector, a son of King Vittorio Emanuele II (1820-1878), was sickly and died at the young age of 19. The City of Genoa actively acquired art between 1912 and 1950 from the Venice Bienniale and Rome Quadriennale exhibitions, and some of Wolfsoniana’s overflow is on display in the villa as well.