Who came before us
brief history of literary and music salons
the Atlantic . . . Salons of Argentina,
New York, New Mexico, and California
If you were present in May of 1813 in Mariquita
Sanchez's Buenos Aires salon you would have
had the pleasure of hearing the Argentine
National Anthem sung for the first time.
In her tertulia, not only were literary
topics discussed, but Argentina's independence
movement was nurtured.
few images of women hosting a salon exist,
one nude self-portrait of early twentieth
century salonnière, Florine Stettheimer,
does. The painting decorated one room of
her Manhattan apartment. A painter, designer
and poet of German-Jewish heritage, Ms Stettheimer
hosted a salon where you would have encountered
American modernists such as Marcel Duchamp
and Georgia O'Keefe.
was a woman of profound contradictions.
She was generous. She was petty. Domineering
and endearing. She was Mabel Dodge Luhan
- salon hostess, art patroness, writer and
self-appointed savior of humanity. So reads
the introduction on the website for the
Mabel Dodge Luhan house where Ms. Luhan
established a salon and literary colony
in 1919 and entertained the 'movers and
shakers' of pre-war America - artists, philosophers,
writers, reformers, and radicals. Her guests
included Ansel Adams, Walter Lippmann, Willa
Cather, and yes, Georgia O'Keefe. Rent the
film 'Easy Rider' and look for her house.
of the European refugee artists and Jewish-German
intelligentsia of Hollywood spent their
Sunday afternoons in the 1930s and 40s on
Mabery Road in the Santa Monica canyon home
of Austrian-born Salka Viertel, who was
also of Jewish heritage. Her Sunday salons
became a refuge for exiles of Hitler's Germany
as well as other Hollywood luminaries. She
welcomed émigrés such as Thomas
and Heinrich Mann, Arthur Rubenstein, and
Bertolt Brecht for an afternoon of conversation,
music, home-cooked meals, even ping pong.
Charlie Chaplin attended. Ms. Viertel was
both an actress and screenwriter and co-wrote
several movie scripts, particularly those
starring her close friend, Greta Garbo.
Visit this site for a compelling short clip
about Ms Viertel, her friends, and her efforts
to enlist MGM colleagues to sign affidavits
for writers and artists stranded in Europe:
Ms. Viertal wrote this line in her script
for the film, Queen Christina: "It's
more that I'm asking than a bed for the
night. It's a chance to talk of home."
now . . .
Check out these: Vica Miller's Literary
Salon in New York City; the Brooklyn Ladies
Text-based Salon - BLT for short; the Institute
for Judaic Studies Literary Salon Series
in Portland, Oregon; Vicki Abelson's celebrity
driven literary salon; Andrea Clearfield's
Philadelphia music salon; the Octopus literary
salon, Oakland, California (www.oaklandoctopus.org);
and, of course,
our own Rhythm and Verse!
look forward to you joining us as we extend
this magnificent salon tradition!