James Tissot: “The Impresario” Brouhaha in the San Francisco Fine Arts scene

October 11, 2019 we attended the Menbers Preview of the James Tissot exhibit at the Legion of Honor situated on the bluffs of northwest San Francisco overlooking the Pacific. The exhibit is marvelous. In a small corner of the expansive showing is a story of art world controversy involving the featured artist.

Liz Heidhues penned a letter to San Francisco Chornicle art critic Charles Desmarais. The noted critic reviewed the Tissot exhibit without mentioning the brouhaha surrounding “The Impresario.” The root of the controversy began in 1953 when the painting shown above was given to the Fine Arts Museums as an Edgar Degas.

A link to the Chronicle review is attached.

Photos and following text: Elizabeth Heidhues

Dear Charles,

As usual, San Francisco is embroiled in controversy: political, artistic, whatever.

Your review of FAMSF’s “Tissot: Fashion and Faith” overlooked the big controversy of “The “Impresario”, which has its own special display in the exhibit.

A brouhaha continues to swirl around “Who gave a Tissot painting to the Museums as an Edgar Degas original?”

Did the donor of the “Impresario” (as it is titled) get a super big tax write-off for donating a painting inflated to be more valuable than it really was back in the day? You yourself said in your review that Tissot “failed to take the chances and set himself the challenges that might have made him great”.

My husband and I really enjoyed the Tissot exhibit.


The details of Tissot’s paintings are exquisite. The pools of water that he painted draw you in with color and depth to look deeper. So do his “leaves” and “flowers”.

The little touches like the cigar butt on the ground in Tissot’s representation of the young male dandies in a social tête-à-tête are realistic.

Tissot’s depiction of his muse and companion, Kathleen Newton, in a wasted condition, pale and dark-eyed, as she dies of tuberculosis is sad.


By the way, the caption adjoining the Chronicle’s photo of Tissot’s “October” was misleading.

It stated “…Much of the exhibit centers on James Tissot’s longtime lover, Kathleen Newton…”

The exhibit’s curators wrote that the relationship existed only for six years, since Kathleen Newton died at the age of 28.

We always read your art reviews in the Chronicle.

For me, a trip to one of San Francisco’s art museums is an escape from San Francisco’s mayhem and conflicts.


The deadly danger of being a Jew in Germany. A German Perspective

Deutsche Welle 10.10.2019

Worshippers at a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle only narrowly escaped a mass shooting by a neo-Nazi on a Jewish holiday. Anti-Semitism should not be trivialized, says DW Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl.

More than 70 Jewish men and women had come together in a synagogue in eastern Germany to pray, sing and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Only the secured door to the house of worship prevented a German man armed with a hand grenade and rapid-fire rifle from causing a bloodbath.

This was on October 9, 2019.

Eighty years after the beginning of World War II, in which more than 6 million Jews were murdered, Jews must once again fear for their lives in Germany if they wish to profess their faith openly when they visit the synagogue.

What does this say about Germany? And what does it mean that the 27-year-old found an audience for his acts by filming them with a helmet camera and streaming them onto the internet on a video game platform? Like the Christchurch attacker in New Zealand, he cast himself in the scene and — before the shooting began — announced to an international audience in English: “The root of all problems are the Jews.”

Yom Kippur Attack III 10.9.2019

Suffering cannot and must not be relativized. Our condolences must, therefore, first and foremost go to the relatives of the man and the woman the perpetrator brutally killed.

But we also cannot look away. If the situation had been a little different, we would have seen the mass murder of Jewish men and women in Germany on Wednesday.

This act strongly underlines that the growing and deadly anti-Semitism in this country is by no means limited to Islamist terrorists. Anyone still making such claims is lying and refusing to face reality. This act emphasizes that the protection of Jewish institutions in Germany is still vital, even nearly 75 years after the end of the Nazi reign of terror. The fact that the synagogue was not protected on a holiday like Yom Kippur does raise questions.

This crime proves that even the most minor hints of anti-Semitism must be taken seriously and investigated. This includes the burning of an Israeli flag as much as the insulting of people showing their faith by wearing a yarmulke.

Anti-Semitism should not be trivialized. There’s no such thing as being a little anti-Semitic. Anywhere. And especially not in Germany.


Anti-Semite guns down two near German Synagogue. Could have been worse

Whether it be in Germany or the United States, Anti-Semite Nazi thugs spread their murderous hate.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 10.9.2019

Two people have been killed and two injured after an attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle. Authorities believe the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.

Yom Kippur Attack III 10.9.2019

In the livestream of the attack, the assailant apologizes to the viewers repeatedly for his failure to kill.

The attack on a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt sent shockwaves across country on Wednesday. Authorities have arrested a 27-year-old German, Stephan B. and have indicated that they believe he acted alone.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said, “The brutality of the attack surpasses everything we have seen in recent years, and is deeply shocking to all Jews in Germany.”

Schuster was also critical of police, however, saying, “It is scandalous that police were not protecting the synagogue in Halle on a holiday like Yom Kippur.” Synagogues in many German cities receive special police protection, and Yom Kippur, the feast of atonement, is the highest holy day in the Jewish calendar.

Police say the man had no previous arrests, but his targets suggest that he had anti-Semitic and xenophobic beliefs. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that anti-Semitism was certainly one of the shooter’s motives.

The shooter was unable to break through the secured door of the synagogue using fire power and witnesses report that one homemade bomb also failed to explode.

Shooting began at synagogue and ended at kebab shop

The shooting occurred shortly after 11 a.m., when the perpetrator attempted to enter the synagogue but was unable to gain entrance. He then shot and killed a woman near the entrance to the adjacent Jewish cemetery.

Yom Kippur Attack II 10.9.2019

The assailant then got back into his car and drove to a nearby kebab shop where he killed another victim. Police later said that they had found an improvised explosive device near the synagogue.

Two further people were injured during the rampage in Halle. Local authorities say that the two, a man and a woman, were treated for gunshot wounds. They are no longer at risk of death according to hospital officials.

Dressed in combat gear, the attacker was also wearing a helmet with a camera, which he used to livestream the attack on Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch. During the video, which was quickly removed, the assailant ranted that the Holocaust had never happened as well as shouting xenophobic and misogynistic statements.

The suspect was apprehended by city police after he crashed his car.

Technical failures saved lives

The shooter used multiple weapons, including homemade bombs and what appears to be a homemade rifle. He experienced repeated technical failures during the attack, which ultimately saved lives.

A man who stopped his vehicle to check on the woman shot outside the synagogue was able to get away unharmed when the shooter’s weapon failed to fire.

It jammed again after he began firing at the kebap shop. Several people were able to flee.

Politicians and religious leaders condemned the attack, which occurred on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, and expressed their solidarity with Germany’s Jewish community.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended a vigil Wednesday evening at a synagogue in the capital Berlin, conveyed her “deepest condolences.” Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s spokesman, wrote on Twitter: “Our solidarity is with Germany’s Jews on this Yom Kippur. Our thanks go out to security forces still deployed.”

City on lockdown

The attack put the city in lockdown for several hours as police followed leads that suggested accomplices may have fled the scene. The lockdown also affected national train traffic as the train station, a hub between Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, was closed.

Police later declared that it was safe for people in Halle to leave their homes, yet as DW’s Kate Brady reported live from the scene, there was an eerie silence across the city as flashing blue lights illuminated the night while police continued to search for evidence.



“Take it Back.” Chesa will take back the Power from the political Hack DA

“Take it Back.” That is the theme for the last month of the Chesa Boudin’s campaign.

Suzy Loftus has shown herself to be little more than a political “Hack” who so much wants to be District Attorney that she tossed any sense of ethical propriety, good judgment and common sense. How can any thoughtful San Franciscan expect Suzy to be fair minded, independent and follow the rule of law when she has sold her conscience to the Mayor and the Power Elite at San Francisco City Hall?

After the outrageous power play by San Francisco’s Mayor appointing her crony to the District Attorney’s job one month before the election, the Citizenry must stand up to abusive power.

Former State Senator, Supervisor and Mayoral candidate Mark Leno summed it up when he told a San Francisco rally on Sunday afternoon that Suzy Loftus will carry a burden whether or not she is elected District Attorney. Should she win there will always be the Asterisk by her name. Suzy could have told the Mayor, “No thank you. I want to win this on my own.”

When Chesa wins on November 5, Suzy can ask herself, “Why did I accept the job? It cost me the election.

Chesa and Mark Leno 10.6.2019

Chesa Boudin and Mark Leno

The Mayor justified her cold political decision by saying she wants a District Attorney, “I can trust.” The District Attorney is not just someone the Mayor should trust. All San Franciscans should have “trust” in the District Attorney.

That is why the City Hall Establishment fears Chesa. He will not play favorites. He will follow lawbreakers no matter their place in long entrenched San Francisco political and social pecking order.

Already the San Francisco Examiner pulled its endorsement of the anointed District Attorney. Former candidate Mark Leno has enthusiastically endorsed Chesa as have a number of Progressive leaders.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stepped up to decry the Mayor blatantly abusing her power to foist her handpicked candidate on the electorate.

Chesa II 10.6.2019

“Take it Back” was a song by the 1960’s rock group Cream in the album Disraeli Gears. The superb drummer Ginger Baker passed away this weekend at the age of 80.

Dallas sick and twisted. Witness in Murder Trial of Dallas cop fatally shot

In the City where President Kennedy was murdered on November 22, 1963 another sick and twisted event has taken place.  Days after the conviction of a Dallas cop for murdering a black man, a prime witness for the prosecution was gunned down by unknown assailants.

Making it more perverse is that the deceased witness was taken to Parkland Hospital, the same venue where the mortally wounded President Kennedy was taken after his assassination.

New York Times 10.5.2019

Joshua Brown had provided key testimony about the 2018 killing of Botham Jean by Ms. Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Mr. Brown testified about the night of the fatal shooting, saying that he had heard gunshots after a surprise encounter between his one-time neighbors.

A witness who delivered key testimony in the trial of Amber Guyger — the white former Dallas police officer convicted this past week in the murder of an unarmed black man, Botham Jean — was fatally shot on Friday night, a lawyer for Mr. Jean’s family said.

Amber Guyger witness II 10.5.2019

The witness, Joshua Brown, 28, who lived in the same apartment complex as Ms. Guyger and Mr. Jean, was shot several times by an unknown assailant, Lee Merritt, the family’s lawyer, said on Twitter Saturday night.

Mr. Brown’s death occurred just two days after a Dallas County jury sentenced Ms. Guyger to 10 years in prison, well short of the maximum 99 years that she could have received in the killing of Mr. Jean, a 26-year-old immigrant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia.

The sentence angered Mr. Jean’s family members and social justice advocates, who said it was another example of failing to hold white police officers like Ms. Guyger accountable for their actions.

“His murder underscores the reality of the black experience in America,” Mr. Merritt said of Mr. Brown. “A former athlete turned entrepreneur — Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise. Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family.”

The Dallas Police Department would not confirm that Mr. Brown was the shooting victim, but said in an email that officers had responded to the Atera apartments at 4606 Cedar Springs Road around 10:37 p.m. local time Friday for a reported shooting.

“The complainant was found lying on the ground in the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds,” the police said. “Dallas Fire-Rescue responded and transported the complainant to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries. Several witnesses heard several gunshots and observed a silver four-door sedan leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.”

Police officials said the victim did not have identification on him.


Nepotism!!! San Francisco Mayor taps crony Loftus DA 32 days before election


All too typical  San Francisco with its snarky and hardball politics.

In a display of blatant nepotism and political power San Francisco Mayor London Breed has named her crony Suzy Loftus as interim District Attorney.

The cold blooded politics of this move should give San Franciscans pause about Breed’s method of governance.  In a tight race with four candidates the Mayor is obviously attempting to swing the election to her favored candidate.

Supporters of Chesa Boudin immediately took to the streets on Friday to express their outrage at the venue where the interim DA was being trotted out for a celebratory moment.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 10.4.2019

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday appointed Suzy Loftus as interim district attorney following George Gascón’s surprising resignation a day earlier, shaking up the race for the city’s next top prosecutor just one month before voters go to the polls.

“This is obviously a power grab by an establishment that is determined to protect itself rather than the people of San Francisco,” Chesa Boudin said. “Voters will see this is about politics, not public safety. I’m confident our campaign can overcome this last-minute effort to preserve the status quo. San Francisco voters want a D.A. that’s accountable to them, not the mayor.”

Loftus DA II 10.4.2019

The announcement was met with protest and accusations of a “power grab” and “political cronyism” from the other three candidates as Breed had already thrown her support behind Loftus. It’s unclear whether the mayor’s move will ultimately give Loftus a bump in the tight election race.

Still, when news of the appointment broke Friday morning, the three other candidates blasted the mayor’s decision and accused her of attempting to meddle in the election.

The four candidates in the race — Loftus, Chesa Boudin, Nancy Tung and Leif Dautch — were all hitting the homestretch of their campaigns, but the sudden resignation and appointment is expected to become a central focus the rest of the way.

Dautch said voters “deserve the right to choose their next district attorney on a clean slate.”

“When I received the letter yesterday from the district attorney announcing his resignation, I couldn’t help but get excited about the future because I know that Suzy Loftus is the right person to do it,” Breed said at a press conference at the Far East Cafe in Chinatown. “We don’t just leave an office open just because there’s an election coming up.”


Dallas Cop Amber Guyger convicted of murder for killing black man

Jury will now resume deliberations to determine Guyger’s punishment.

Breaking News 4.15.2019

The Dallas Morning News 10.1.2019

A Dallas County jury convicted fired officer Amber Guyger of murder for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his apartment last year.

Botham Jean 10.1.2019

Cheers broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

Jurors will now resume deliberating to decide Guyger’s punishment. In Texas, murder carries a punishment of five to 99 years or life in prison. The charge is not eligible for probation.

Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Jean in his apartment last year. She had said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean was a burglar.

More than two dozen bailiffs lined the courtroom and the hallway outside. Some of the patches in their uniforms indicated they were with the tactical unit, though they had no extra gear.

At one point, one bailiff asked another if they had enough people. “No,” another responded.

The crowd in the hallway after the verdict was boisterous but not unruly. When prosecutors walked out, people gave them a round of raucous applause and cheers.

In the hallway, Guyger’s mother was shaking.

Guyger left the courtroom about 15 minutes after the verdict. She’ll be back when the sentencing phase of her trial begins about 1 p.m.

Testimony stretched across six days after the trial began Sept. 23. Jurors had heard from officers who responded first to the scene the night of the shooting and watched how they frantically tried to save Jean’s life.

They also heard from people who lived at the apartment complex where Guyger and Jean lived and as well as testimony from a medical examiner and a crime scene analyst.

Guyger’s defense team had urged the jury to think “coolly and calmly” about the case, which they cast as a tragic mistake. They have said Guyger made a “series of horrible mistakes” that led to her shooting Jean out of fear for her life.

But the prosecution said arguments of self-defense don’t apply to Guyger because Jean was not a threat. They said Guyger had other options besides killing Jean and that she acted unreasonably by failing to notice she wasn’t at her apartment.