Haunting the Huntington
My wife and I haunted the Huntington a few days ago. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens was founded in San Marino, California in 1919 by Henry Huntington.
He was a business tycoon who married his widowed aunt in 1913. In those days, incest was perfectly acceptable amongst the gentry, as long as they kept it in the family.
Together, he and his antewife auntie collected rare books, masterpieces of art, and botanical exotics.
They placed it all in a trust in 1919, so that the hoi polloi, including my wife and me, could come on down, give it a gander, and be awesomely inspired.
Today the Huntington Library hosts more than a half million guests a year.
About 1,700 scholars from around the world conduct advanced humanities research every year, at the Huntington. Some have included Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and even Oscar winners such as Katharine Hepburn. Hey, no one gives a damn about those other folks, but Katharine Hepburn? Wow!
There are eleven different gardens at the Huntington, featuring plants from various climates and regions. I noticed that the Chinese Garden had many Chinese visitors, and the neighboring Japanese Garden had many Japanese guests. But not many Chinese seemed to be visiting the Japanese Garden, or vice-versa. Centuries-old suspicions seem to persist, even on American soil.
There are three different art galleries. One is devoted to European Art (Huntington Art Gallery), one is devoted to American Art (Scott Art Galleries), and the other is just for any old art, I guess (Boone Gallery).
My wife and I were in the Huntington Art Gallery, admiring fine portraits of ancient aristocrats. We were milling about with dozens of other quiet and reflective admirers. One man thought he was alone, and let a big fart while gazing pensively at a George Romney masterpiece. He didn’t notice my wife standing behind him. She finished his flatulent statement by saying “. . . goes the weasel!” He slinked away, looking embarrassed. Too bad. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about being artsy-fartsy.