What We're Reading: 2/12/24


Frederic Clay Bartlett, Artist and Collector

Frederic Clay Bartlett may not be a name that is instantly recognizable, but the artwork he created or collected helped establish Chicago as an important center for art in the first decades of the 20th century. The year 2023 marked the 150th anniversary of his birth, and the event brought together several scholars for a half-day symposium at Second Presbyterian Church, who discussed various aspects of his life, from his major mural commissions in the city to his advocacy for modern art, and from the significant collection of paintings he gave to the Art Institute of Chicago to his remarkable winter home, Bonnet House, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Via Classic Chicago


An exhibit of war time posters, on display at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago in May 2013. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)


Pritzker Military Museum will close in Chicago in July

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library, a Chicago museum and research library dedicated to military history, will close its doors at the end of July, with its collection and other assets moving to the Pritzker Military Archives Center in Southern Wisconsin.

According to an announcement Wednesday from the museum, the two operations will consolidate with a new home for the archives center in Somers, Wisconsin, north of Kenosha. A new facility, including with archives and some 10,000 feet of public space for visitors, is expected to open later in 2024 — the building now under construction was designed by architect Helmut Jahn before his death in 2021.

Via Chicago Tribune


Georges Bergès Introduced Hunter Biden to the Art World. It Hasn’t Worked Out Well.

On the evening of the 2020 election, Joe Biden holed up with his family in his Wilmington, Del., home as the results rolled in. His son, Hunter Biden, was there too, on the phone with his art dealer, Georges Bergès, according to the SoHo gallery owner.

“The whole night, we called each other,” Bergès recalled in an interview. The art dealer slowly realized that the nascent artist he had taken under his wing was about to become the son of the president. Bergès offered moral support but concealed the fact that he had donated small amounts of money to Donald Trump roughly two dozen times that year. “I didn’t say anything about my own point of view,” he said.



Can AI Unlock the Secrets of the Ancient World?

A few years ago, during one of California’s steadily worsening wildfire seasons, Nat Friedman’s family home burned down. A few months after that, Friedman was in Covid-19 lockdown in the Bay Area, both freaked out and bored. Like many a middle-aged dad, he turned for healing and guidance to ancient Rome. While some of us were watching Tiger King and playing with our kids’ Legos, he read books about the empire and helped his daughter make paper models of Roman villas. Instead of sourdough, he learned to bake Panis Quadratus, a Roman loaf pictured in some of the frescoes found in Pompeii. During sleepless pandemic nights, he spent hours trawling the internet for more Rome stuff. That’s how he arrived at the Herculaneum papyri, a fork in the road that led him toward further obsession. He recalls exclaiming: “How the hell has no one ever told me about this?”

Via Bloomberg