“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, March 16, 1923, 58 Central Park West, New York City, New York

The host, corporate lawyer and art collector John Quinn, 52, has planned this as a double celebration.

His niece Mary is turning 16 today, so he has invited her; her mother, his sister Julia Anderson, 37; Julia’s good-for-nothing husband; and a few friends to his apartment for the festivities.

Central Park West

In addition, today he is un-crating his most recent art acquisition, Le Cirque by the late French post-impressionist Georges Seurat.

The Circus has been sitting in the building’s basement since arriving from France about a week ago. Today, when the workmen try to bring it upstairs to Quinn’s penthouse, they discover it is too big to fit in the elevator! They figure out a way to safely place it on the roof of the cage and carefully get it up to the apartment.

And it is worth the effort. The painting is exquisite; Quinn has instructed his French buyer that he will leave it to the Louvre in his will. Champagne toasts all around, both to Mary and Le Cirque!

Le Cirque by Georges Seurat

The Circus didn’t come cheap. Quinn paid a couple thousand pounds for it, in installments. But he is now focusing his collection on French artists and selling off a lot of his other works.

Quinn feels it is important for him to host family parties like this one. At the beginning of this year he had quite a health scare, waking up to find himself lying on the floor next to his bed, unable to move for an hour until his valet found him.

Quinn needed rest so he went to Hot Springs spa in Virginia—but stopping off on the way to attend to one of his corporate tax cases in Washington, D. C.

In the past six months he has litigated over 50 cases for millions of dollars, but he had to turn down an offer to buy a van Gogh from his London art dealer. Too pricey.

The health scare has made Quinn realize that he needs to slow down, exercise more, get a good night’s sleep. Spend time with his family.

Recently he received a letter from one of the many writers he supports, American ex-pat poet living in London, T. S. Eliot, 34, who wrote: 

I have not even time to go to a dentist or to have my hair cut…I am worn out. I cannot go on.”

Quinn wants to tell him, make the time. It’s important. Don’t allow yourself to be so driven.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.