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The Splendid Disarray of Beauty (2023) tells two intertwined stories, one of love, the other of art.
In 1910, the San Franciscans Frank Ingerson and George Dennison became permanently paired in life and love. Known among their friends and in their community as the Boys, they remained in a de facto common law marriage for 55 years.
In the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains they established the first stand-alone summers-only art school in California. The school was devoted to the lifestyle and aesthetic of the American Arts & Crafts movement, which aimed to imbue beauty into every element of day-to-day living, taking nature as a source of inspiration in doing so.
The school lasted only four years but had a significant impact on the California art scene—inspiring the creation of three other summer-only art schools in Northern California and its distinguished alumni went on to found the California Society of Etchers and the ArtCenter College of Design in LA (now in Pasadena).
In 1915 both men held positions at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition: George was on its central committee as the chief operations officer for the Palace of Horticulture and designed the landscaping for the fair. Frank was in charge of the principal decorative arts exhibitions.
The men went on to form life-long friendships with famous artists and Hollywood stars, including Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Yehudi Menuhin, Loie Fuller, and Ruth St. Denis. Additionally, during this time the pair cultivated a glamorous life that glittered across two continents.
In this talk Richard D. Mohr introduces us to two of the most interesting and admirable men you have never met, until now.
An in-person and virtual presentation by Richard D. Mohr, author and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and of the Classics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign