Forty years after the stirring events of May 1968, the Dutch media asked people to recall what they were doing at the time. With a six-month delay due to circumstances, Schwartz consults his memory.
Continue reading “293 Where were you in May 1968?”
On the road, especially in faraway places, Schwartz is known to succumb to an upwelling of Jewish sentiment that he never acts on at home. In Isfahan, he attended Friday-night services in the synagogue of a 2,500-year-old community and got a powerful dose of tribal feeling. Continue reading “282 Reading the prayer book in Isfahan”
The commemoration of war victims provides a measure of closure for the pain of war. It may not feel that way, but it forms an important part of war itself. Rather than eliminating memorial days, Schwartz argues for the extension of mourning to cover all victims of war, down to enemy, civilian and psychological casualties. Such a practice would aggravate rather than ease the emotional burden of war, bringing it closer to the point where it becomes unbearable.
Continue reading “279 No thanks for the memory”
An eloquent new essay in what is called contemporary history, a book by the Dutch author Geert Mak on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, brings back memories of the predecessor of the present bridge, which Schwartz first crossed in August 1961. It was a pontoon bridge that opened every night for shipping to the Golden Horn. Every time it was reopened for land traffic, a race took place that now seems like a clue to the creation of human values.
Continue reading “277 The race across the bridge”
In February a volume of studies in Dutch art was published in memory of the economist and historian of Dutch art Michael Montias. Schwartz recommends it. In a P.S. the impending end of the Dutch-language basis for the Schwartzlist is announced.
Continue reading “275 What Scarlett Johansson doesn’t know about Vermeer”
On the morning of New Years Day, the prolific historian Charles Boxer drafted a list of his writing and speaking commitments for the year, crossing each one off as he accomplished it. Schwartz resolves to do the same. Continue reading “225bis Charles Boxer’s New Years Day”
Ethel Portnoy, a dear friend, died at the age of 77. She was an embodiment of American Europeanness, creating in the Netherlands an international but entirely Dutch literary personality. She had the precious writer’s gift of giving readers a feeling that they were in her confidence.
Continue reading “211 An American in The Hague”
The appearance of an outstanding collection of articles by his old friend Albert Blankert brings out sentimental recollections and upright admiration in Schwartz.
Continue reading “210 Specialism with a human face”
A good provenance is not supposed to add to the value of a work of art, but it does. The information that an object was once owned by someone with famous good taste is worth money on the auction block. A collection mainly of Dutch 18th-century drawings that partakes of this quality, coming up at Sotheby’s Amsterdam on 19 May, is the Unicorno Collection, accumulated over the past 50 years by Saam and Lily Nijstad.
Continue reading “209 The taste of the unicorn”
A tribute to a beloved and boundlessly respected colleague.
Continue reading “151 I’m not an art historian, but…”