Wednesday, April 11, 2007
de mille & broderson

Agnes de Mille

Morris Broderson

A version of this post was originally put up on my blog almost a year ago...hard to believe it is that long ago...The reason I am posting it again is because it has been substantially changed---rewritten---as well as some photo additions. And I am finally going to do a more extended post on Morris Broderson, and I thought this was a great introduction to him. So, here is the updated/reworked/many pictured post from eleven months ago, which really has almost no relation to that first time round.....There is another long time connection that runs through my life that has been very meaningful to me and extremely exciting, too. A very unique and talented painter named Morris Broderson came into my life many many years ago. It was in the beginning of 1961 to be exact. I met Morris in the first few weeks after I moved to Los Angeles. His Aunt, Joan Ankrum, had just opened a gallery specifically to be able to show Morris. Some of the very first small pieces of art that I bought after moving to Los Angeles, were some little Broderson drawings, and that began my love affair with Morris' work, and over the years we became very good and dear friends I am happy to say. He is with me all of the time because his work hangs all over my home in almost every room. I have always loved his work and I have always been very very moved by it, too. Living with his work is an 'inspiration' to me in so very many ways....and it feeds my soul as well as my heart....Morris has always been a very amazing human being to me in so very many ways....This painting below was one of the first major pieces I bought of his.....

This is a color drawing he did after going to Rome, 1961-62....this hangs in my living room....

Morris' connection to Agnes de Mille began when he saw the Ballet "Rodeo", which she had choreographed. Somewhere along the way he also saw another ballet of hers called "Fall River Legand" the story of Lizzie Borden. This first time that Morris saw "Fall River Legand", the great Ballerina, Nora Kaye, was dancing 'Lizzie'. He was so taken with that Ballet, and Nora Kaye, too, that he did a whole series of paintings based on Lizzie. (At one time I owned a beautiful oil of that series called "Lizzie In Mourning", but unfortunately hard times forced me to sell this beautiful painting...and though it pained me greatly to have to part with it, I took comfort in the fact that I had many other works of his.)

de Mille and Broderson met after he did his 'Lizzie' series and she fell in love with his work and with him. Morris is someone to fall in love with. He is a true Modern Master, and everything about him is unique...what he paints, how he decides to paint what he paints, and although this next fact doesn't define all of him by any means, it certainly has effected who he is and how he sees the world. He happens to be deaf.

Morris has been 'profoundly deaf' since birth. He reads lips. And he speaks amazingly well, I might add, for a person who has never heard any language in his entire life. Morris loves to laugh and he has a wonderful sense of humor. In fact his sense of humor is better than a lot of hearing people I know! I mean it. I have probably laughed more with him than I have with 80% of the 'hearing' people I know.

This painting above, which I wish was a better photograph, is of Agnes de Mille, later in life. Morris was at an important event where de Mille was honored. In fact it was The Kennedy Center Honors, and he was sitting behind her at one of the many events that took place. (This painting hangs in my bedroom on the opposite wall from my bed so I get to look at it every day.) This was his view of de Mille in her wheel chair as he sat behind her. I think it is an amazing painting--(well, a mixed media drawing to be exact...pencil and pastel)...The detail of the blouse she is wearing is exquisite---utterly breathtaking in it's detail. As you can see at the top of the painting there are hands spelling out something in sign language. The word he spelled out was "Dancer".


Here are a few other works of Brodersons..... This painting is an Oil on Canvas. The model for this painting was a very good friend of Morris', Julianna Fjeld, an extremely talented actress and Producer, who I had the privelage of photographing a couple of times over the years back in the days when I use to do a lot of 'Head Shots' for actors which they used for their resume's....Morris did two major paintings of Julianna and I happen to own both of them. Here below is a closer detail of this painting.... The genius of the layers of fabric are truly brilliant! That she looks like she is just about to cry I find stunning and terribly moving, too. And here below, another detail of this painting.... Morris' eye for detail and his particular personal vision has always been such a fantastic thing to behold....there is no one quite like him.

Here below is an early amazing example of the Broderson vision.... This is a drawing he did when he was fifteen years old...15! Again, I wish it was a better photograph was very difficult to photograph because it is framed with glass, and I had a very hard time with reflections given all the floor to ceiling windows in my home....

And last for today, but by no means least, here is another vision of this rare and dear man, Morris appropriate piece given that Easter was just a few days ago.... The hands spell out the word Christ.

There will be more about Morris Broderson as time goes on here...He has been a very important part of my life...particularly my life in Art. So, as I always like to say....

More To Come.....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

Absolutely AWESOME! I remember the first time you profiled him, and I enjoyed it then! This time is even better! I LOVE that painting of Julianna - I agree with you that his effects with layers is amazing! And the Christ picture -- I noticed the hands even before you pointed it out! Fabulous! He really IS a huuuuuuge talent -- you are so fortunate to own so many of his pieces -- and even MORE fortunate to be able to call him friend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 3:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You write so beautifully about someone who is obviously a dear friend and such a ttalented artist. he truly is a modern master as you say. The detail is exquisite! Your home sounds better than some galleries I have been too for the richness of art that is there adn how wonderful to have a personal connection with the artist whose paintings enrich your home! Lovely!

On an unrelated subject - I saw your comment on Shepherd's post where he also awarded you the Thinking Blogger award. I echo his sentiments exactly :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 6:08:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, what a masterful artist he was! The paintings are wonderful but the pencil drawing of the man is fantastic, especially when you know he was 15 when he created it.

In high school, some girlfriends and I met 3 deaf boys at a swimming pool. We were intrigued and started up a summer of dating these boys. We all learned some sign language and the thing that struck me the most about these boys (we were all about 17 at the time) was their charming innocence
and naivete. Because of not hearing, they had not picked up some of the subleties of language and no sarcasm or cynicism at all. I think that may have changed when they were older, but it was so refreshing back then. Most of the boys we knew were smart alecks and conceited asses.....LOL

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 6:52:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Good Wednesday morning Lady !
Thank you for sharing about the art and people that matter to you !

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 8:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Absolutely wonderful and amazing paintings, Naomi! Thanks for introduce me to this great talented artist Morris Broderson! It is a real pleasure see his work of art! I am enchanted with the sensible details in his painting! The hands spell out the word “Christ” and also the word spelled out the word "Dancer" was just an amazing surprise! Love also the painting with Julianna Fjeld! Wonderful indeed! What a blessing to know talented people like Morris Broderson!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 9:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

His work is so interesting, I love what he does with the hands. My favorite is the drawing he did after his Rome trip.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 12:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It's always great to read your posts about people who means a lot to you - this pics and example of art is just amazing - thanks for sharing!

Btw: I'm not sure what you mean about big pictures on my blog. Please send me a note and I'll try to help you:-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 2:24:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Lyn M.
had this to say:

While I'm unfamiliar with Morris Broderman I'm intrigued by all the beauty that is your life; your garden, your art and the artistry of your work, your symphony of friends, and your relationship with a camera that sees it all from the inside out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 3:28:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Linda
had this to say:

Really beautiful work. I love how the hands spell out words, like the painting is 'speaking' to you on more than one level. I just thought that was genius!! They are amazing paintings.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 5:23:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Great post and what fine art!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 5:56:00 PM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

His paintings and drawings are fabulous. Oh, to have talent like that! Amazing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 10:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What talent! Thank you for sharing him with us. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 11:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow, another great story for your book Naomi! (if i get enough gossip about you writing a book you may HAVE TO! lol)Maybe you could print out every post you've done and call the book "my life as a blog"! no? hmmmm.

I love the hands.. outstanding that he would do that.

So Naomi.. someday you must write a list of people you never met that you wished you had. (I can't imagine that to be much of a list though!)

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 5:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Great work thanks for sharing it with us...the way your write all those moments in your life is just so captivating...

Love to you:)


Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 8:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You wrote such a wonderful bio for Morris.
It came as a surprise to find out about his deafness.
It certianly hasn't handicapped him!!!
His details are amazing.
That drawing at age 15 shows just how truly gifted he was to begin with.
I like how he put "Christ" in the painting of Jesus.
It is beautiful work.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 2:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wonderful post about Morris! It is beautiful and it is like you are doing a painting of him through words.

His works are marvelous and when you said that he is deaf but he can read lips reminds me of this candidate of Ms. Universe who was representing USA.

She too is deaf but she reads the lips of people that's why she understood every word they say.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 5:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love reading your blog ... it takes me to another time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 5:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am always in awe of the fabulous people you know, the friends that you have, the paintings you've collected...all of it. You are never dull!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 6:34:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh wow. That painting of Julianna Fjeld is unbelievable. There are so many layers, and to be able to paint the transparency of the fabric hanging in front of her is stunning!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 7:05:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

"Living with his work is an 'inspiration' to me in so very many ways....and it feeds my soul as well as my heart."

I think that sums up the wonderful relationship and friendship you and Morris enjoyed.

I love his work, it really is inspirational, and I love you have kept so much of it :-)

The drawing he did as a teen reminds me of the drawings of the great artist Raphael at 15....


Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 7:17:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow... 15?! Truly extraordinary.
What a talent he has.

Friday, April 13, 2007 at 12:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Very interesting paintings. You must have some art collection! I love the hand signs in the crown of thorns. A real flair for portraiture.

The nicest complement ever paid me by a collector was about how she was going to live with the painting in her home. Grow old with it. It is wonderful to own original art.

Friday, April 13, 2007 at 5:55:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm really struck by how her eyes are welled up with tears and all the inner world that he is able to translate on canvas.

Friday, April 13, 2007 at 7:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Those are really great! Interesting. I like when an artist adds their own unusual twist on things. I like the hands in the Jesus' crown.

Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 3:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

His work is utterly stunning! WOW! I'm not familiar with him, so I can't thank you enough for introducing me to his work.
Talk about a born gift of talent. His work just mesmerized me. So much to look at and absorb. And how different to spell out the words in sign language. You are SO fortunate to have these prized paintings gracing the walls of your home.

Monday, April 16, 2007 at 6:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I had never heard of him. It is nice to stumble onto your site and learn something new. Beautiful.

Thank you.

P.S. Here via Michele.

Friday, April 20, 2007 at 5:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi, I know that this is an old post but I hope you still read it. My name is Robyn and six months ago we were in a local thrift shop. I immediately spotted and fell in love with a large drawing of a beautiful male model. He is in a different position from the one that you posted here but it is signed Broderson. I would love to send you a couple of pictures since you seem to be such an awesome authority about the artist. My email is: I would love to show you this piece. We are all the way up in Western Washington! Anyways thank-you for your time.

Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 5:03:00 PM PDT 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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