Brezhnev becomes president of the USSR May 7, 1960

May 7, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 
May 7, 1960:
Brezhnev official portrait 1977

Leonid Brezhnev, one of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s most trusted proteges, is selected as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet—the Soviet equivalent to the presidency. This was another important step in Brezhnev’s rise to power in Russia, a rise that he later capped by taking control of the Soviet Union in 1964.

Brezhnev had been a trusted associate of Khrushchev since the 1940s. As Khrushchev rose through the ranks, so did his protege. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Khrushchev rapidly consolidated his power and succeeded in becoming First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This position had always been the real seat of power in the Soviet Union—the first secretary was able to control the vast Communist Party apparatus throughout the Soviet Union. The position of president (or, more formally, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet) was largely symbolic. The president often greeted foreign visitors and handled more mundane government matters, but policymaking always rested with the first secretary. In May 1960, Khrushchev named Brezhnev to the position of president. While the post meant little in the way of real power, it did allow Brezhnev to come into contact with numerous foreign dignitaries and visitors and to travel the world as a representative of the Soviet government. He made the most of these opportunities and was soon viewed as an efficient and effective official in his own right, not simply a puppet of Khrushchev.

In 1964, Khrushchev was removed from power and Brezhnev was named new first secretary. Brezhnev held that post for 18 years until his death in 1982. His era was marked by a certain blandness of rule, a much-needed stability in Soviet ruling circles, a sometimes harsh repression of the Soviet people, and a hard-line attitude toward relations with the United States.

Paintings of Edvard Munch

May 7, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The Scream

Munch Self

Munch Self 2

Munch Dance

Munch Ashes

Biography of Edvard Munch

May 7, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Biography of Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch – The Dance of Life Site
© 2005 Roman Jaster

1863 Birth of Edvard Munch, December 12, Loten, Norway. Son of military doctor, Christian Munch and wife, Cathrine.
1868 Munch’s mother dies of tuberculosis at the age of 30. Her sister, Karen Bjolstad, takes over household.
1877 Sister, Sophie, dies of tuberculosis at age of 15.
1879 Edvard enters Technical College to become an engineer. Frequent illnesses interrupt his studies.
1880 Leaves College to become a painter.
1881 Enrolls at the Royal School of Art and Design. Paints his first self portrait. Sculptor Julius Middelthun teacher of Munch.
1882 Exhibits at the Industries and Art Exhibition.
1885 Works on The Sick Child.
1886 Munch is identified with a controversial group called “Christiania’s Bohemia”, named after a novel of that name by Hans Jaeger, anarchist and a leader of the group.
1889 Edvard organizes a retrospective exhibition of 110 works at the Student Organization in Christiania. He attends Bonnat School of Art in Paris. Father dies.
1890 Returns to Norway.
1891 Rents a studio in Paris. Summer in Norway. Munch’s health deteriorates through excessive drinking. Travels to Copenhagen, Nice, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Basle and Geneva.
1892 Edvard is invited by the Union of Berlin Artists, to exhibit at its November exhibition. Munch’s paintings become the object of bitter controversy; after one week the exhibition is closed. Munch’s paintings are shown at exhibitions in Düsseldorf, Copenhagen, Breslau, Dresden and Munich.
1893 Takes up residence in Berlin. Meets and paints August Strindberg. Joins international circle of writers, artists and critics, including Ola Hannson, Richard Dehmal, Holger Drachmann and Gunnar Heiberg.
1894 Produces first etchings and lithographs. Receives commissions for illustrations for the periodical Pan.
1895 The press urge a boycott of Munch’s exhibition at Blomquist’s gallery in Christiania, Norway. The National Gallery of Oslo buys Self Portrait with Cigarette.
1896 Moves to Paris. A full-page reproduction of Madonnaappears in the periodical L’Aube. Prints color lithographs and first woodcuts. His mental and physical health deteriorates.
1897 Buys a house at Asgardstrand, where he will spend most of his summers until 1906.
1898 Travels to Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris. Illustrates Strindberg’s texts in the periodical Quickborn.
1899 Travels to Berlin, Paris, and Florence, Rome. Suffers from influenza, bronchitis and exhaustion.
1902 Exhibits the “Frieze of Life” at the Berlin Secession. During an argument Munch is wound by a gunshot and loses two finger joints in his left hand. Gustav Schiefler begins to catalog his graphic works.
1903 Meets Eva Mudocci, an English violinist.
1904 Sells 800 prints through Schiefler. Becomes a member of Berliner Secession. Munch now drinks heavily.
1906 Attempts health cures at various spas near Weimar. Travels to Berlin, Weimar and Jena.
1907 Settles in Berlin.
1908 Edvard paints in Warnemünde, Rostock, Germany. Exhibits with the Brücke in Dresden. Complete nervous breakdown in autumn. Spends eight months at Dr. Jacobson’s clinic.
1909 Composes prose poem, “Alpha and Omega” with lithograph illustrations. Returns to Norway where he rents a house at Skrubben near Kragero. Munch isolates himself from the art world.
1910 Participates in the Berlin Secession.
1911 Wins the Oslo University Aula competition.
1913 Resigns from the Berlin Secession. Exhibits new versions of the “Frieze of Life” paintings at the Autumn Exhibition in Berlin with Picasso. Travels widely in Europe and visits New York.
1915 Munch exhibits graphic works at the Panama-Pacific International exhibition in San Francisco.
1916 Buys a house at Ekly, Norway, where he will live most of the rest of his life.
1917 Curt Glaser’s book “Edvard Munch” is published in Berlin.
1920-2 Travels to Berlin, Paris, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt. Buys work from German artists to support them.
1923 Edvard Munch becomes a member of the German Academy of Fine Art.
1927 Exhibits over 223 works at his retrospective exhibitions at the National Galleries in Berlin and Oslo.
1928 Designs murals for central hall, Oslo City Hall. Suffers from cysts in his right eye.
1933 Celebrates 70th birthday. A broken vessel in his right eye causes almost total blindness.
1934 Presents his portrait of Strindberg to the National Museum in Stockholm.
1940-1 Germany invades Norway. Munch refuses contact with the Nazis.
1944 Shortly after his 80th birthday, on January 23, Edvard Munch dies peacefully at home in Ekely. Bequeaths 1,000 paintings, 15,400 prints, 4,500 drawings and watercolors, and 6 sculptures to the city of Oslo.


Ballesteros ‘Could Get Up and Down Out of a Garbage Can’

May 7, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 
May 7, 2011
NY Times


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The reality of the death of the great golf champion Seve Ballesteros in Spain at the age of 54 dawned on the Quail Hollow Club on Saturday morning, its arrival fittingly wrapped in a thick fog that shrouded the golf course and delayed the start of play for 90 minutes.

Early arrivals were greeted by somber images on big-screen televisions beamed from the Spanish Open, where players wearing black ribbons on their caps stood in a light rain for a moment of silence to remember the man whose fiery passion changed the way golf was perceived and played.

At the tournament where Ballesteros began his professional career in 1976 and had his final European Tour victory in 1995, José María Olazábal wept on the shoulder of his countryman Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

Those two golfers, and 30-year-old Sergio García, who is playing at the Wells Fargo Championship here, are the three most prominent Spaniards to have been influenced by Ballesteros.

Untold thousands more who took up the game, in Spain and across Europe, Australia, South Africa, the United States and South America, were influenced by Ballesteros’s astounding artistry with a golf club.

Players whose styles differ greatly from the free-form, slashing style used by Ballesteros, like Davis Love with his powerful textbook action, are among the professionals who took something from Ballesteros.

Phil Mickelson, an imaginative feel player whose short-game genius can be mentioned in the same sentence as Ballesteros’s, was inspired by the way the long-armed Spaniard approached trouble shots in the trees and tight lies around the greens.

When asked if he tried to emulate Ballesteros’s full swing, Mickelson smiled.

Seve Ryders Cup

“Maybe,” he said, “but not consciously. Although I do seem to find myself in some of the same kind of places.”

Meaning the trees, the rough and a variety of locations other than the fairway. More than anything else, those may be the most indelible memories Ballesteros created.

Yes, he was largely responsible for breathing life into the Ryder Cup after his arrival in 1979 created a renewed interest in a competition that had devolved into lopsided United States thrashings of teams composed of players from Britain.

And, yes, he made some waves with his gamesmanship in match play and ruffled feathers at PGA Tour headquarters with his stubborn insistence in 1985 that he would not play on the tour unless the minimum requirement of playing 15 events was waived for him.

Those memories are overwhelmed by the image of his standing in a field well to the left of the fairway in 1979, trying to find a way to win his first British Open. It was among the first memories recalled by Jack Nicklaus, who with 18 major championships is still regarded as the game’s greatest player.

“He was able to create shots, invent shots and play shots from anywhere,” Nicklaus said. “When he won at Royal Lytham in 1979, he played the 16th hole from a parking lot. I have watched him play 1-irons out of greenside bunkers, when just fooling around. He could get up and down out of a garbage can. He could do anything with a golf club and a golf ball.”

The renowned instructor Butch Harmon knew that side of Ballesteros well. He spent two weeks in 1995 at the Ballesteros family home in Pedreña trying to help him restore his natural method of swinging. It had become “too robotic” after Ballesteros sought help from instructors too numerous to mention.

“He had an unusual style of swinging the golf club,” Harmon said Saturday. “He had an unusual body. His arms were longer than most people’s his height. Most people don’t realize his right arm was longer than his left arm, so his swing was built around the length of his arms and his torso.”

“The thing that was phenomenal about Severiano Ballesteros was his imagination and creativity,” Harmon added. “He saw things that other players don’t see. He saw shots they don’t see. He was just a genius. He was like watching an artist paint a picture when you’d see him in the trees. I think he was more at home in the trees than in the middle of the fairway. The more trouble he got into, the more comfortable he felt in the situation.”

Remarkably, this style of play led to five victories in major championships, 45 other titles on the European Tour and four more in America, where his appearances were all too few.

In the Ryder Cup, in which he was magnificent, he and Olazábal combined for a record of 11-2-2, the best in the history of the event. His individual record was 20-12-5.

But to try to tell the story of Severiano Ballesteros with numbers is like trying to describe the Michelangelo’s Pietà by quoting its dimensions.

To Nick Faldo, the great English player and current CBS-TV commentator, Ballesteros was “Cirque du Soleil” for his stylistic and athletic interpretative abilities.

“For golf, he was the greatest show on earth,” Faldo said. “I was a fan and so fortunate I had front-row seat.”

To the Hall of Famer and world-class chipper Raymond Floyd, Ballesteros surpassed anything he could imagine.

“He was the most creative player in and around the golf course that I’ve ever seen,” Floyd said in a Golf Channel interview broadcast Saturday. “I used to think I was creative, but what he did pretty much defied description. That is how Seve will be remembered by the people who knew him, for that and the generous spirit that went unseen even by his fans.”

Late in his career, after signing an endorsement agreement with Callaway Golf, Ballesteros was having dinner with Ely Callaway, the company’s founder and chief executive, at a restaurant in Augusta, Ga. The night was filled with laughter, stories and toasts with Ballesteros’s favorite wine, the Spanish Rioja Marqués de Riscal.

As the night was ending, Ballesteros stood and, with tears in his eyes, thanked Callaway for believing in him. He had, he said, thought long and hard about what he could give Callaway. He wanted a gift “which I valued very much.”

At that, he peeled off the vintage Rolex watch he had worn since he first signed with the watchmaker more than two decades before and handed it to Callaway. Both men cried, raising their glasses.

Obituary, Page A20.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 8, 2011, on page SP10 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘He Could Get Up and Down Out of a Garbage Can’.

Munch’s The Scream recovered May 7, 1994

May 7, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

May 7, 1994:

Munch's The Scream

On May 7, 1994, Norway’s most famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo. The fragile painting was recovered undamaged at a hotel in Asgardstrand, about 40 miles south of Oslo, police said.

The iconic 1893 painting of a waiflike figure on a bridge was stolen in only 50 seconds during a break-in on February 12, the opening day of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Two thieves broke through a window of the National Gallery, cut a wire holding the painting to the wall and left a note reading “Thousand thanks for the bad security!”

A few days after the theft, a Norwegian anti-abortion group said it could have the painting returned if Norwegian television showed an anti-abortion film. The claim turned out to be false. The government also received a $1 million ransom demand on March 3, but refused to pay it due to a lack of proof that the demand was genuine.

Eventually, police found four pieces of the painting’s frame in Nittedal, a suburb north of Oslo, and what may have been a cryptic messages that the thieves wanted to discuss a ransom. Finally, in January 1996, four men were convicted and sentenced in connection with the theft. They included Paal Enger, who had been convicted in 1988 of stealing Munch’s “The Vampire” in Oslo. Enger was sentenced this time to six-and-a-half-years in prison. He escaped while on a field trip in 1999, and was captured 12 days later in a blond wig and dark sunglasses trying to buy a train ticket to Copenhagen.

In August 2004, another version of The Scream was stolen along with Munch’s The Madonna, this time from the Munch Museum in Oslo. Three men were convicted in connection with that theft in May 2006. Police recovered both works in August with minor marks and tears.

Munch developed an emotionally charged style that served as an important forerunner of the 20th century Expressionist movement. He painted “The Scream” as part of his “Frieze of Life” series, in which sickness, death, fear, love and melancholy are central themes. He died in January 1944 at the age of 81.

Munch’s The Scream recovered. (2011). The History Channel website. Retrieved 10:55, May 7, 2011, from