For some unexplainable reason, I have a lot of photos of staircases, arches and hallways in my albums. I am astonished by how many times over the years I have taken pictures of them while traveling. I suppose I take the Renaissance idea of a vanishing point too seriously or often wonder what’s beyond that arch or up that empty staircase, and my eyes and lens are drawn to classic steps, mysterious arches usually in foreign countries, and interesting hotel hallways.
I have pictures of steps and arches like the one just above in places like Ireland, Russia, China, and The United States. The steps are sometimes in old and new theaters, the halls are in not-so-busy or closed hotels, and the arches are over entryways or on streets in many foreign countries.
I suppose my compulsion has led me to seek out and appreciate artists who show these in their works. Maurits Cornelis Escher has been a longtime favorite of mine with his stairs going nowhere or mathematically balanced oddities. I dote on the works of Edward Hopper with his often seemingly depressed humans in paintings like “Nighthawks” and “Rooms by the Sea”. I still remember liking the works of Marvin D. Cone, a little known Iowa artist who often depicted ghosts and human abandoned staircases leading to partially opened doors in paintings like “Uncle Ben” and “The White Hotel”. I first saw his output in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and I was immediately drawn to his works. He was a friend of Grant Wood of “American Gothic” fame, a long-time college professor, and a respected regional painter whose haunted paintings are seldom seen outside of Iowa. However, my favorite mystery painter is Belgian artist Rene Magritte. A couple in Houston, Texas, the Menils, befriended him, entertained Magritte in their home, and bought many of his paintings. Ruth and I have a copy of a mysterious Magritte painting hanging in our living room and I look at it often.
Today you are the recipient (or victim) of an effort to clear some photos off my cluttered desktop. Outside my window today are many snow sculptures, no traffic going up or down a usually busy street, and piles of snow from our first and only big dump of the winter of 2021. Because of where we live, it’s supposed to be gone by tomorrow when rain is forecasted. In the meantime, Ruth and I are experiencing cabin fever in a rare year of no travel.