“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.”
These words were written by the Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch (46-120 AD) nearly two thousand years ago. By definition, all the arts are sensual, meaning that they are pleasing to one or more of the five senses: vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch. While poetry can be read or spoken, paintings are uniquely accessed through our sense of vision. The French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) wrote: Dancing is poetry with arms and legs. In that spirit, one would be tempted to paraphrase him and say: Painting is poetry with paint and brushes. Our lead image in the exhibition is a wonderful Impressionist work titled Pergola at Samarkand, painted in Santa Barbara in 1921 by Colin Campbell Cooper (1856-1937). The Samarkand Persian Hotel was built in 1920 to capitalize on the growing tourist trade. It was one of the most luxurious hotels on the west coast but was forced to close at the height of the Depression, in 1937, due to the lack of patrons.