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Thursday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 22 Jan 2009

MEADOWS MUSEUM, PLUS TWO: The Meadows Museum at SMU has acquired a pair of early 20th Century oil paintings that will go on display this spring. The paintings were purchased through the Meadows Foundation. El Tajo, Toledo (The Tajo, Toledo), from Spanish painter Aureliano de Beruete (above), pairs nicely with another work in the collection […]

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MEADOWS MUSEUM, PLUS TWO: The Meadows Museum at SMU has acquired a pair of early 20th Century oil paintings that will go on display this spring. The paintings were purchased through the Meadows Foundation.

El Tajo, Toledo (The Tajo, Toledo), from Spanish painter Aureliano de Beruete (above), pairs nicely with another work in the collection according to Meadows director Mark A. Roglán.

“The painting relates beautifully to [Joaquín] Sorolla’s view of the same city in The Blind Man of Toledo, which was painted around the same time in 1906 and is also owned by the Meadows Museum,” Roglán said in a news release. “In fact, Beruete’s view portrays the same side of the city, but focuses on the terrain outside the city walls. The work illustrates Spanish artists’ interest in their homeland, especially its historic towns.”

Also coming into the collection is Femme Assise (Seated Woman) (right) by one of the few female Cubist painters, María Blanchard. The 1917 painting was completed around the same time as the museum’s other Cubist works: Still Life in a Landscape (1915), by Picasso; Cubist Landscape (1917), by Juan Gris; and Portrait of Ilya Ehrenburg (1915) by Diego Rivera.

SWEEPING UP THE GEORGE STEEL CRUMBS: Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg News weighs in on George Steel’s abrupt departure from the Dallas Opera last week to take over the troubled City Opera in New York. It’s a column Gerard is certainly qualified to write — before moving to New York, he was the theater critic at The Dallas Morning News before a certain someone we all know and love. And even though his characterization of the local opera’s feelings of good riddance might be true, the column lacks much in the way of on-the-record proof. He quotes a couple of DMN editorials, but the only person he has on record from the organization is Dallas Opera Chairman Kern Wildenthal, who told The New York Times: “We cannot feel bad about the opera world sorting itself out in a beneficial way for all concerned.”

And this is where it really gets sticky as Gerard then reinterprets that quote, writing: “If there were surtitles, Wildenthal’s comment would be translated thus: “So long. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.” From there, he sites “reports” that Steel was not a regular at rehearsals and that his own board members were badmouthing him.

Again, this may all be 100 percent true — it’s certainly plausible. But without anyone from Dallas Opera actually saying any of these things, how are we to know? Just to be clear: I’m not accusing Gerard of anything here — the rumors he is passing along are the same ones we’ve all heard. But there’s a process of seeking the truth behind rumors when writing a column or a story. It’s called reporting.

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