14 november 2010

These bronzes and marbles were made in the likeness of the gods and goddesses, whom the ancients allowed to exist on condition that they understood everything men do and enjoyed everything. Now such images of tolerance adorned only the homes of the innocent aged; and in the white rooms of contemporaries, where the most bizarre transactions were carried on, the only permitted ornaments were those neutral objects, cacti and seashells.

- Rebecca West, Cousin Rosamund

Gertrude and Sidney had, instead of pictures, two reproductions from the Museum of Non-Objective Art, in frames or containers half of plastic, half of mirror. One was romantic, and showed a kidney being married to the issue of a sterile womb, amid trailing clouds of mustard - or Lewisite, I am not sure; the other was classical, and showed two lines on a plain - or plane, perhaps.
“Is that a Mondriaan?” Constance asked politely.
Gertrude looked at her as if she had asked whether it was a Landseer.
It was plain that Mondriaan's day was past.

- Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution