The Young Love Triptych©
The Mona Lisa Americana©
Legacy Art from GalerieGlobien™ a Droit de Suite Firm*
GalerieGlobien™ is a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Globien Inc
Photos: Ülric** (1954-55)—Painting: Payne (2015-16)
Birth of a Cynge Noire Event in the World of Art
Spring; 1954. A high school senior, age 18, is introduced to an attractive high school sophomore age 16—a teenage romance is kindled.
Despite the young girl living in a small town 14 miles away, distance does not deter their budding relationship. Of strong German descent (both mother and father are from German stock)—her father is a successful merchant in the area— her mother—a teacher.
At age 16, our young student has already tasted military life: In the summer of 1952, the fate of the Korean War was still in the balance. The Viking Division of the Minnesota National Guard was activated and ordered to Camp Rucker in Alabama—effectively decimating Camp Ripley of its key employees just as the summer guard training season was about to begin.
The Commandant of Camp Ripley calls our then sophomore’s mother (social worker) to ask for young men, age 16, possessing a driver’s license to volunteer to fill in during the critical summer training months.
Our young student is among the twenty high schoolers who volunteer and he ends up driving a ¾ ton weapon’s carrier that summer—in the process—learning how to unload M4A3 Sherman tanks from lowboy rail cars, fire bazooka’s and win his first medal from the Commandant himself. The Korean War becomes part of his military background albeit at arm’s length.
For our young student, the transformation seems seamless – an early descendant from Ireland had died in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1865 and his father had served three and a half years in China in World War II and a much loved Uncle was a conscientious objector who ended up as a combat medic, D-Day plus 6 and was with the point regiment that took the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine in WWII.
1954: another of life’s ‘fork-in-the-road’ events has already taken place for the young man.
It will impact the relationship in the mid 1950’s and—resonate thru time.
In the third week of football—in his senior year, his sports career ends with a Green Stick fracture of his right arm. The next day, arm-in-a-cast (being autographed by many girls), he is told by his English teacher (who had been a WAVE in World War II and a photographer) he was now the sports editor of the high school newspaper and the school’s photographer!
Reluctant (at first) he does well at both assignments with her help and learns to appreciate the Speed Graphic and German-made Rollieflex available to him—and the dark room were the WAVE introduces him to the alchemy of film processing and fundamentals of good photography.
Working side-by-side in the darkroom, she uses the development process to assess his work—making contributions to focus, framing and capturing the essence of a moment in time.
She also nursemaids him when he tells her the cast on his arm is causing problems. She tells him to remove his belt.
Once removing his belt, she runs the belt between cast and skin—voila! The painful itching of drying skin is relieved. She is a Miracle Worker (and cute).
Upon graduating, he buys a state-of-the-art Kodak “Pony” camera with graduation gift money—one of the first with a telescoping lens. New camera and new ‘first girl friend’ become frequent subjects for the now, nascent semi-professional photographer. Less than two years later, the telescoping lens will play a different role in a far different place.
“Spring of ‘54” was created by the painter, Lili Payne combining two 35mm slides taken at the same location—a county road between the two small towns and looking south over a rolling, verdant landscape complete with stock ponds. The view remains unchanged to this day. What DaVinci was able to create in fine shading (sfumato) our photographer was able to capture on camera. Elements of chiarosuro play out here as well. The camera as Muse is becoming an integral part of the young man’s life.
This work is also entitled: The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
“Summer of ‘54”—a favorite swimming spot—an abandoned granite quarry (Nelson’s Quarry) frequented by young locals with access to automobiles or—not minding a hard ride over gravel roads—on their bikes.
This work (center triptych) is also referred to as: The Girl With The Ruby Ring.
“Fall of ‘55” combines a number of separate shots taken at a nearby Camp Ripley, one of the largest National Guard Camps in America and famous for its WPA-era stone work. The young couple are headed for the Officer’s Ball—and the inevitable end of the relationship.
This work is also entitled: The Girl With The Pearl Necklace.
The triptych, now complete in terms coming together via Leonardo da Vinci’s and Vermeer’s Camera Obscura and possibly Camera Lucida use. (See Vermeer’s View of Delft).
The Young Love Triptych©/Mona Lisa Americana© warmly embraces Delacroix’s philosophy ‘the first virtue of a painting is that it be a feast for the eyes’ . . .
Moving from centuries past to the present, Mona Lisa Americana employs much of what a contemporary artist, Gerhard Richter, has so skillfully done with art imposed upon photography. Termed ‘photo-realist’ works, the term grisaille oil paintings is also called into play.
While Richter has most notably projected photography on to canvas then added his own interpretation, Lili Payne has applied oil to gessoed-wood and using photography by Ülric to achieve the same end result.
Having chosen to attend a university where being part of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) was mandatory, time, distance and social competition have slowly abraded the relationship.
The young freshman cadet senses this and is not surprised to learn his last dance with the young beauty, who is voted princess of the ball, is to the magic of Perez Pardo’s “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” . . . music from the ‘Mambo King’ that could be handled via the ChaChaCha, Mambo and Lindy—which the young couple did very well.
Young cadet has his memories—and the output from the Kodak “Pony”.
The ‘output’ however will ‘go missing’ and . . . remain missing for fifty-eight years. Cadet/photographer/now entrepreneur believes the Central Intelligence Agency has his film. How this came about . . .
Deciding to put time and distance to work over the lost relationship, young man, former cadet, university student and camera leave for Europe.
Travel to Fortress Europa comes via the “Ascania”, a once proud single-stacker of the Cunard Line. It is, in early 1956, at the end of its useful life thus fares are cheap and student-affordable.
Having once served as a troop ship for Her Majesty. it becomes a troop ship once again—to the surprise of the two hundred plus passengers who board her in New York bound for LeHarve and Liverpool—early February—1956.
Once beyond the Continental Limits of the U.S. and now sailing into a darkening night, the Ascania take a sudden turn to port which is followed by an announcement—the now HMS Ascania will be heading to Halifax to pick up British soldiers, equipment and dependents—some six hundred souls in all. This puts the Ascania many degrees north latitude and a rhumb line that will take it into the North Atlantic in winter time.
Her Majesty’s Royal Navy ensign now flies from the masthead and – upon departing Halifax—the Ascania plows directly into one of worst North Atlantic storms of the century . . . towering wave after wave batter the rust bucket vessel for seven straight days and nights. It is a scene out of Nicholas Montserrat’s The Cruel Sea—a story based on some of the darkest days of World War II in the North Atlantic battle – a decade earlier.
In the engine room, crews – waist deep in icy water—continuously work to put oakum packing on the dual screw shafts. Towering, puke-green waves bring the screws out of the water when the ship is bow down—added moment of torque tears at the shaft packing allowing more water into the hold. Bilge water pumps are working at full capacity!
Despite turbulence, sea sickness and lack of food (it couldn’t be prepared and served) time, distance and now—new companionship work their magic.
The music that backgrounds this time period is Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.
120 college students are on board, sophomores or juniors from elite colleges and universities and—of the 120, 118 are women . . . destination—University of Vienna.
Young ex-cadet and travel companion from the same university find themselves opening champagne bottle after champagne bottles embraced in the many bon voyage baskets that came aboard in New York.
In hours, our young ex-college student finds himself entranced by a talented pianist-music major from a wealthy Jewish family out of Oak Park, Illinois. Ascania’s only grand piano is her muse until, in the Mid Atlantic, a rogue wave rolls the liner to her scuppers—cables holding the piano snap and the two see it slide into total, shrieking oblivion after crossing the length of the dance floor.
They now have only each other.
A tearful disembarkation scene reminiscent of “Casablanca” occurs when the Ascania glides into Le Havre, France, past the gutted German submarine pens of WWII.
Despite the enticements of the young girl – Come to Vienna with me – I’ll pay your tuition – we’ll have a semester together – our young man steels his resolve to fulfill his own Wunderjahr . . . on his own terms.
Extreme cold of the Winter of 1956 ends a short Paris stay in exchange for what turns out to be six weeks in Barcelona. Young photographer takes a number of pictures in the City of Light and of course, pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) 1503-1506. Oil on wood panel. 30.25 x 21″ (77 x 53.5 cm). Musée du Louvre, Paris) . . . he will see the Mona Lisa one more time years later—viewing time now shortened to 15 seconds . . .
While smitten with work, the young man also comes to terms with DaVinci’s use of the “Golden Mean”.
Photographer at all times, he captures two ‘slice-of-life’ photos from Paris; an early morning shot of a chestnut vendor under the Eiffel Tower on a very cold day and a ‘fender-bender’ on a Parisian round. The Eiffel Tower work is now complete and will see Ülric-Richter life as an oil-on-wood—number Four in the Legacy Series.
The ‘fender-bender’ is not yet in the commission stage.
Good fortune in the companion sector continues . . .
The pensione on Las Ramblas el Estudiante in Barcelona is also home to a group of young dancers who perform nightly at an upscale restaurant—Their evening finale: Ravel’s Bolero. Young man and college companion become ‘Stage door Johnnies” . . . the Benedictine priest who introduced him to Ravel and Respighi a short year earlier in Music Appreciation 101 would likely have taken a dim view of the ‘connect’ . . .
Sensing his travel companion may no longer be traveling due to the Castilian beauty and lead dancer, our young cameraman opts to leave Barcelona having been recruited to be part of a three-man CIA team—travel to Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia and bring a ‘person-of-interest’ (POI in Agency-speak) out of Tito’s stressed-out country—possibly, a candidate to replace Tito when he dies or . . .
The mission is deemed three-in-three-out. The young photographer will be left in Yugoslavia to find his own way out.
He leaves his Andalusian beauty before dawn’s early light, her last words to him the evening before “You will never leave Barcelona Alive!”
Maturing rapidly in worldly ways, the three-week sojourn to Yugoslavia ends up in Bonn, Germany at the U.S. Embassy with an invitation to take on a second clandestine mission—this despite the first mission having failed. The ‘handlers’ who planned the mission didn’t take into consideration the POI might have a wife or girl friend. The Black Op Rule of Three prevailed. The money that was to be given to our photographer was given to the POI. Several months later he and his girl friend made landfall on the eastern shore of Italy—they used the money smuggled in to buy a row boat and rowed their way out of Yugoslavia across the Adriatic.
Ex-cadet-college-student-now a Black Ops Veteran, takes on the offered assignment. He agrees but only if he can be home by September—in order to return to his former University and resume academic pursuits. The Agency agrees —and comes through. Our photographer however doesn’t end up back at his former school—a stint in the Marine Corps calls him into active duty and a six year commitment to the Corps.
The second mission is camera-specific and—solo to a great degree.
Given eight rolls of film before leaving London—he is now a deck-hand (decksgutt) on a Norwegian tanker bound for Batumi in the USSR. On paper he is also a Norwegian Marine Cadet.
Batumi, in once Georgia—is on the eastern-most tip of the Black Sea. Motor Tanker Julien is out of Bergen, Norway and one of the five hundred American T2 oilers made surplus following WWII. Stripped of its gun tubs, these tankers ply the Seven Seas seeking oil from any source in the 1950’s. Over time they will be replaced by super tankers.
Covert Mission: “Take pictures of whatever you find of interest.” The Agency has already learned of the ex-cadets interest in aviation—among other things.
The three-week journey down the Thames—sliding ballast-light—past towering anti-aircraft towers that attempted to hold off German aircraft bombing London –past the White Cliffs of Dover, into the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, into the Mediterranean sea–-across the top of Africa to starboard, through the Aegean Sea into the Dardanelles – known as the Hellespont in Classical Antiquity, passing through Istanbul; (over the submarine nets in the Bosporus) and now—to the far end of the Black Sea.
Nearing the oil port of Batumi it becomes abundantly clear what is of interest to his ‘handlers’—sleek Soviet military aircraft of a new design abound in the skies above!
Norwegians mariners have informed their intelligence service that when picking up Caspian crude, the tanker(s) are docked at the end of a single military runway in Batumi. One can get pictures of landings and take offs and the little Pony with its telescopic lens makes a great tool for seeing what Mikoyhan and Gurevich, designer of the MiG 15 that almost bested U.S. aircraft in the Korean War—has created in the MiG 17. Imagine this; a formation of 12 B29’s head for Pyongyang, capital of North Korea in the Korean War – nine are shot down by the stubby MiG 15—flown by Russian pilots.
Taking the pictures of MiG 17’s landing or taking off is easy to accomplish: simply lie down (naked) in the stern life boat reserved for the sun bathing needs of the deck and engine crew. MiG 17’s scream low over the tanker’s stern on takeoff or landing on the single strip.
It is at the return end of the journey, that negatives from the Pony seem to go missing.
Now a helmsgutt (helmsman), our cameraman experiences a rare mid-ocean fog and the Julien—heading west—coming to a dead stop as the entire U.S. Navy 6th fleet sweeps by the M/T Julien loaded to its plimsoll line with Soviet Oil.
Either on the wheel or fo’c’sle head watch, our helmsgutt slices through the Sargasso Sea—swings around Lightship Ambrose and our cameraman’s covert mission comes to an end—not quite Two Years Before The Mast—but close enough.
Swinging at anchor in quarantine of New York Harbor, being checked for radioactivity and contaminated food supplies before going up river to Bayonne to disgorge its Cold War oil, the young helmsgutt, now known to officers and fellow seaman as “Yank” is asked to report to his bunk area where a U.S. Naval officer asks for the film consigned to him.
Our photographer gives him six rolls but the officer suggests the number was eight rolls and he would like all eight rolls back.
Young helmsgutt argues some of pictures were personal property. Argument goes nowhere and the case of the “Missing Family Pictures” begins.
Fast forward to 1998. Now located in Shanghai and Chairman of the American Educators of Greater Shanghai (some two hundred professors or adjunct professors)—of which, the now sixty-two year old businessman, was one of the latter).
Tasked to help fellow educators who had run afoul of their Chinese administrators, he meets a young American teacher who needs assistance. In the course of their dealings, he asks where he is from. A familiar town is named. Having heard this was where his high school girl friend lived—asked if he recognized a first name. The young man responding instantly: He knew her and in fact, all four of her daughters had been his baby sitters throughout his growing-up years. His comment that each girl was more beautiful than the others captured the professors interest and brought back fond memories of a romance decades earlier.
Although there had been no contact over the intervening years he was intrigued by the fact that she and her husband were parents to not only four girls but to three boys – the girls coming in 1-2-3-4 order followed by the boys. At this time, he had two boys, two girls and would adopt a young Chinese boy to make it three sons.
There wasn’t any good reason to connect with the woman however until . . .
. . . Christmas of 2014֫—a CD labeled “The Missing Family Pictures” came gift wrapped from his youngest son.
Over five rolls of film from the Kodak Pony turned up in boxes dating to pre-divorce days. The U.S. Navy officer did get the film he wanted—somehow film that traveled to Europe did in fact, get returned to the U.S. but then went missing in the fog of domesticity and ultimately—divorce.
Now, with a compelling reason to re-connect—to share with her and her family outstanding pictures from her past—an exchange of family photos was organized.
What the young teacher professed in China was true—seven very good looking children and—a large progeny of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As GalerieGlobien had been underway for several years (and had roots going back to 1939), the concept of creating a “Young Love Triptych” was natural outcome of the exchange.
The idea was shared with her and the photos to be used either as standalone (quarry) or composites as are “Spring” and “Fall”.
The creation-of-concept took close to a year to develop and then commit to a painting commission which took another three years. Like the Mona Lisa, an early effort was made—Summer of ‘54’ was commissioned by another artist. The decision to have one artist do all three works was agreed upon and the process began again.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Liliana Payne was raised in rural western Minnesota, less than a hundred miles from where the scenes of the Young Love Triptych© took place. Born into an artistic family, Liliana was familiarizing herself with the tools of an artistic trade from a very early age. Upon graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College with honors in 2003, she moved to Minneapolis to begin a career as a scenic artist and muralist. She has had many notable clients in that time, including the Loews Hotel Minneapolis, the world famous Guthrie Theater, Macy’s Special Events in downtown Minneapolis and Chicago, and Split Rock Museum Services. Her murals are installed in businesses and organizations throughout the U.S., and Canada. She has recently expanded her skills to include painting work for feature films.
ABOUT THE PAINTINGS
The Young Love Triptych©/Mona Lisa Americana is on 30X20 inch Russian Baltic Birch boards—wood used for high end furniture. The Mona Lisa is on white Lombardy poplar—a common material used 520 years ago in da Vinci’s time.
The imported boards are sanded, gessoed two times and each base coat sanded again with 3M 00 zero-grade sandpaper. The artist, Lili Payne checks the final coat with her fingers and then uses a small dessert torch to burn off any microscopic ‘hairs’ that may remain (read ‘tooth’ here). This assures the paints used will adhere to the surface in a smooth, uniform field.
Baltic Birch panels come in 5’x5’ pieces—complete with Cyrillic markings. The wood is designated “Urea-formaldehyde bonded wool products”—UF factor is rated at 0.1 percent. After being gessoed, the UF material is no longer detectable. The birch wood laminate used is ½ “ thick.
Just as the Mona Lisa was ‘braced’ in 1970, the triptych is reinforced with Titanium steel in a format designed by engineers of the M. Vincent & Associates – Minneapolis MN, internationally known for utilizing Titanium and other exotic metals. This metal, in ½” strips lace the back of each work. 1/16 of an inch thick—it is three times stronger than steel but at one third the weight. An ancient African art motif from Zaiere (Congo) is used shape the ‘bracing’ array. A triangle motif, it means “Stability” in the language of the Congo.
To negate warping issues of the Mona Lisa (believed to have started when the painting was at Versailles) and owned by King Louis XV, The Young Love Triptych©/Mona Lisa Americana© is designed to be free standing. The Mona Lisa, hanging against a wall absorbed moisture thus abetting warp age. It will later hang on a wall in Napoleon’s bedroom in the Tuileries Palace.
The final purchaser (individual, syndicate, country (sovereign fund), corporation or consortium) of The Young Love Triptych©/Mona Lisa Americana)© will need to heed these atmospheric control conditions: temperature (constant 68.5 F/) and humidity at a constant 50 per cent dew point. Another well known formula is 75.0 F and 55 percent humidity. Lighting and type is variable depending upon number of hours it is on display.
The Mona Lisa today is partnered with a closely monitored environment—the painting kept in a clear container with controlled humidity, temperature and light levels. An unseen silica bed rests under the painting.
The Young Love Triptych©-Mona Lisa Americana© is set in channel iron frames and mounted on three oak plinths that top out at 77 inches and puts the center of each work at the requisite 58 inch museum- standard- inches from the floor.
The plinths allows positioning away from walls that may affect the wood over time. The ‘curve’ is matched with velvet guide ropes on brass stanchions that position the viewer at the right distance from all three panels to appreciate the diorama affect. Triptychs might be thought of as precursors to the world’s first movies.
The Young Love Triptych©/Mona Lisa Americana was designed from the outset to be a legacy work of art that can stand the Mona Lisa test of time—520 years and counting . . .
This raissoné will be recorded in multiple languages and used with ear buds and apps while viewing. Back ground music from right to left – Jo Stafford’s 1950’s hit, “You Belong to Me”, Ravel’s Bolero, center and Perez Prado’s Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White mambo complete the musical links.
ABOUT FUTURE WORKS
All of the works listed below will cover the same basic make up except for size. When a 5’x5’ Baltic board is cut to achieve two 30”x20” pieces, two 24”x17 ½” pieces are created. These sizes will be used where appropriate.
The following works are scheduled under the Rules of Engagement—Camera Obscura—Camera Lucida and Delacroix’s posit and Richter’s well-developed photo-to-art formula. Unless indicated, all photos are product of Ülric**
Paris—Hot chestnuts in a Cold City—1956—Triptych Parisienne reve – Lili Payne – 2016
Fender-Bender in Paris—1956
White Cliffs of Dover—1956
Wine Dark Seas—vintage selfie—1956
Marcel Breuer— Inspired architect – aspiring writer—1959 (Photo by Lee Hanley)
Catalina Dreaming—completed. 2009 photo – Art 2016 – Commissioned 2017 – Chris Spencer
Lady Slippers—Forbidden Flowers—2013—commissioned 2016—completed in 2017 – Chris Spencer
Generational Despair—1986—South Korea – Commissioned 2017 – Gary Roweder
Chemisier—1956 – “Come Over And See Me Big Boy” – Parisienne reve – commissioned 2017 – Denise Houk
Commander Hatch’s Advice – 1956-1998
Supporting craftsmen, artisans, engineers and iron workers:
Willie Willette – Willy Willette Works – Minneapolis MN. Plinth design & execution – landscape portrait presentation.
Jim Schmitt, Art & Architecture, Inc. Minneapolis MN. Source of the 77” oak plinths which came from a late 1800’s mansion. Originally were fireplace moldings.
Michael Vincent Jr., VP/Sales, M. Vincent Associates, specialists in exotic metals – supplier of Titanium used to brace all three of the landscape works in the triptych.
David Shegstad, NC Shegstad Ornamental Iron Works, Minneapolis. Master craftsman and engineer working with iron & steel, Dave Shegstad created the channel iron frames and hanging devices that place the three landscape works securely on the oak plinths.
Stewart Kelly, Architectural Sheet Metal Company, Bloomington MN. Cutting of Titanium sheets in precision strips for back mounting the Legacy Art Triptych (and future Legacy works).
Chuck MacDonald, Minneapolis MN. Chuck MacDonald was the first commissioned artist doing the “Summer of 1954” work. His specialty is ‘Contemporary Portraits’ and his effort has done yeoman’s work in the conceptualizing stage of the project to arrive at ‘proof-of-concept’ Richter style.
Youngblood Lumber Company, Minneapolis MN. Source of the Russian Baltic Birch.
Dennis Beitlich, Owner, D&B Custom Woods, Minneapolis MN. Does the precision cutting of the Russian Baltic Birch to exacting dimensions for GalerieGlobien Legacy Art Program.
Claire Steyaert, Claire Steyaert Antiques, Minneapolis MN. Over the years Ms. Steyaert (Belgium born) and known throughout the U.S. as a premier art & antique dealer, has been a mentor to GalerieGlobien – all aspects of the art/antique business.
Gorilla Glue Company, Cincinnati, OH for their engineering/application input regarding the Titanium bonding process.
ThomasPrinting, Minneapolis giclee preparation and disk processing.
Justin Strom, Minneapolis – giclee preparation and disk processing.
Denise Houk, GalerieGlobien Photographer
Ben Uldrich, Computer Specialist
Mic Tienken, Web Consultant
Blick, Minneapolis giclee framing.
*Droit de Suite – follow up rights to artists – Circa 1922.
**A Nom de Guerre to enter Yugoslavia in 1956