We revisited the IN FOCUS display of portrait photography at The Getty, our numbers augmented by one. Because Liz & I had enjoyed it so much we dragged her mom along to see what we were raving about.

When mustaches were mustaches.

Despite our reinforcement we decided not to overpower the guard in order to flout the stern prohibition against photography and video. We were compliant.

But no draconian code forbade the sketching of exhibit items. So we fell back on our tried and true method of recording faves: drawing them. We had brought along our graphite stick (Really. It’s a stick of graphite.) and one of our tiny fits-in-your-breatpocket notebooks.

So there we stood, scribbling away zestily while the guards clenched and unclenched their meaty fists, helpless — from a strictly legal standpoint — to stop us.

It’s entertaining, sketching is;  it makes a nice record of your visit, it arouses the curiousity of the passing herd, it warms the blood, and, above all, it leads you to look harder at the subject than you might otherwise. It slows you down.

We have recommended the practice of museum sketching in the past, we recommend it now, yes, this very moment, and, if Providence vouchsafes to us more days on earth, we will recommend it in the future. Never go art-gawking without a little sketchpad. Every gift shop stocks them.

Oh, here’s the info about the photo for those of you who simply need to know this stuff:

The photographer was a French guy who called himself “Nadar” even though his name was really Gaspard Félix Tournachon. He came into this world in 1820, but left again in 1910. The photo is a “salted paper print.” It’s about 9.5 inches tall and 7 inches wide. The subject, who sat for the picture in 1860, is “The Journalist August Vitu.” His mustache is unnamed.


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