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“Tea Leaves” 
Author: William McGregor Paxton (American, 1869–1941)Date: 1909Medium: Oil on canvasLocation: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkIn a windowless parlor permeated by soft light, a dreamy atmosphere, and the sounds of silence, two elegant women pass the time by doing very little or nothing at all. Paxton hints at a narrative, but he asks that the viewer invent it, recapitulating the ambiguity of Vermeer's paintings, which he admired. Paxton often depicted refined women—like his patrons' wives and daughters—at leisure in handsome Boston interiors of the sort that they, as keepers of culture, would have decorated and occupied. By equating women with the precious aesthetic objects that surround them, Paxton echoes the spirit of the novelist Henry James, who portrayed women as collectible objects in The American (1877) and Portrait of a Lady (1881). Paxton’s works also accord with pronouncements by the sociologist Thorstein Veblen, who observed in his Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) that a woman’s “conspicuous leisure” signaled the wealth of her father or husband. — source

“Tea Leaves

Author: William McGregor Paxton (American, 1869–1941)
Date: 1909
Medium: Oil on canvas
Location: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

In a windowless parlor permeated by soft light, a dreamy atmosphere, and the sounds of silence, two elegant women pass the time by doing very little or nothing at all. Paxton hints at a narrative, but he asks that the viewer invent it, recapitulating the ambiguity of Vermeer's paintings, which he admired. Paxton often depicted refined women—like his patrons' wives and daughters—at leisure in handsome Boston interiors of the sort that they, as keepers of culture, would have decorated and occupied. By equating women with the precious aesthetic objects that surround them, Paxton echoes the spirit of the novelist Henry James, who portrayed women as collectible objects in The American (1877) and Portrait of a Lady (1881). Paxton’s works also accord with pronouncements by the sociologist Thorstein Veblen, who observed in his Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) that a woman’s “conspicuous leisure” signaled the wealth of her father or husband. source

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"In the hourless forest
a tall tree is being felled.
...
Search, birds, search
for the site of your nests
in this high memory
while it is still murmuring."

— Jules Supervielle