elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

James Whitney Fosburgh & Minnie Cushing

James Whitney Fosburgh (1910-1978) was an American painter and lecturer on art perhaps most famous for his portrait of US President, John F. Kennedy, which is featured in full colour on the cover of the 5th November 1965 edition of Life magazine, to accompany the memorial essay on the President entitled “A Thousand Days”. Fosburgh was trained at Yale School of Fine Art, where he received his B.A. in 1933 and M.A. in 1935, and was an artist very much at the centre of things in pre- and post-war American society. Although homosexual, he was married to the socialite Mary "Minnie" Cushing, whose first husband had been Vincent Astor. (P: Betsey Maria Cushing Whitney and Jock Whitney)

For his first major one-man show, Time magazine featured the following review: “Ever since the "Ashcan" painters of the early 1900s went looking for Beauty in alleys and gutters, U.S. artists have prided themselves on smoking the lady out of the most unexpected hiding places. Last week in a Manhattan gallery, Painter James Fosburgh smoked her out again. He had discovered her in a dirty clothes hamper, a rumpled pillow, a tavern jukebox. "Anything can be beautiful if you bother to see its beauty," says Fosburgh. "Even a hamper can be a vision of the world." He makes a handsome still life from a pair of discarded work gloves or a coffee cup, a romantic landscape from the bleak hangars and dingy flats of La Guardia Airport seen across turgid Flushing Bay.

Fosburgh is a late starter: he is having his first one-man show at 41. After musing through galleries and lecturing for four years at Manhattan's Frick Museum on everything from Chinese ceramics to Boucher, he finally decided to turn painter. Wartime service as an Army glider pilot held him up for five years. Then he spent another year experimenting with blobs and squiggles: "I didn't know what I was doing, and finally I decided I wasn't going to find out, so I chucked the whole lot into the fireplace."

James Whitney Fosburgh was an American painter and lecturer on art at the Frick Museum, perhaps most famous for his portrait of US President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Although homosexual, in 1953 he married the socialite Mary "Minnie" Cushing, whose first husband had been Vincent Astor. On October 8, 1953, several weeks after divorcing his second wife, Minnie, Astor married the once-divorced, once-widowed Roberta Brooke Russell. According to an oft-told story in society circles, Astor agreed to divorce his second wife only after she had found him a replacement spouse.

He decided to model himself on Rembrandt, Goya, Chardin and U.S. Painter Thomas Eakins ("one of the greatest portraitists of all time"): "It was a matter of looking and looking and then working and working." The small public that buys pictures approved the results: his Manhattan show was a near sell-out” (Time magazine, New York, 28th April 1952).

When the President’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, began a project to renovate the White House in1961, she found, as she wrote, a "crying need for some good American pictures" as there was "really nothing but late nineteenth century Presidents in black." She called on Fosburgh to serve as the chairman of the committee to select American pictures for the executive mansion, writing to him, "It is my greatest hope to acquire permanently for the White House all the finest from this country's past. I think it should have pictures by Stuart, Trumbull, Peale, Hicks, Audubon, Sargent, Whistler, Homer, Eakins, Currier & Ives (bedrooms) Mary Cassatt, Remington - and so many others that I am sure you will be able to think of - All the most important periods should be represented - except the really modern ones - as it is a period house - or will be - but we can think of some solution to that." Fosburgh himself said of his role in this endeavour: "The White House is the setting in which the Presidency of the United States is presented to the world and must be a reflection of the best in American history and art."

During his lifetime, Fosbburgh had one-man shows at the Kennedy Galleries in New York, amongst others. 

Source: http://www.cambridgeprints.com/artists/f/FOSBURGH.HTML

Mary Benedict "Minnie" Cushing (January 27, 1906 – November 6, 1978) was an American socialite, philanthropist and art collector.

Mary Benedict Cushing was the eldest daughter of Harvey Williams Cushing and Katharine Stone Crowell. Her two sisters, also prominent socialites, were Betsey Maria Cushing and Barbara Cushing. She also had two brothers, William Harvey Cushing and Henry Kirke Cushing.

She was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York City Center, and was on the board of the Yale Art Gallery. She was also a major supporter of the American National Theater and Academy and the Henry Street Settlement. During World War II she was a leader in the Ship Service Committee and New York City War Fund.

As an art collector, she was known for her collection including Paul Cézanne, Winslow Homer, William Nicholson, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Walter Sickert, and Pavel Tchelitchew.

She was married twice, first to the multi-millionaire William Vincent Astor (son of Colonel John Jacob Astor IV and Ava Lowle Willing) in 1940 as his second wife. They were divorced in 1953.

She married her second husband, the painter James Whitney Fosburgh (August 1, 1910 - May 14, 1978), later in 1953.

She died on November 6, 1978.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Benedict_Cushing

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher

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Tags: days of love

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