Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lovely Evening Admiring the Jess Murals at the Kael-Basart House

On July 16th, we had the pleasure of touring the Kael-Basart House in Berkeley, home to the only extant murals by the artist Jess. Painted in 1956 for Jess' friend, film critic Pauline Kael, the murals are still remarkably vibrant and inspiring!
Vice-Chair Abby Bridge and youngest chapter member Rex admire the murals
We were welcomed by our extremely generous hosts from the Committee to Preserve the Jess Murals & Kael-Basart House - with wine, food, and live musical accompaniment! The evening began with an introduction to the history of the murals, the house, and its inhabitants over the years, and was followed by a screening of a short documentary about the house, concluding with a tour of the murals.
Hosts Christopher Wagstaff (left) and Carl Schmitz give background and context to the evening
After Kael moved to New York, the home belonged to the Basarts: a composer and a music librarian who operated a small music publishing business out of the house. The legacy of the many artists, poets, musicians, and thinkers who had spent time in the home felt very much alive as we filled the house with talk of the creative "old days" in Berkeley.

Host Carl Schmitz shows off his hand puppet skills
 Many thanks to our hosts, the Committee to Preserve the Jess Murals & Kael-Basart House, for creating such a special evening for our chapter members. And we wish them the best of luck with their important work to make these murals and the history of the house accessible to future generations!

Kitchen floor designed by Harry Jacobus - so beautiful!