Introducing ARENA: Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film
As early as 1861, the cartoonist Edward Jump began to feature Emperor Norton in his work. That same year, the new Tucker's Hall in San Francisco opened with a comic opera titled Norton the First, or, Emperor for a Day. In 1863, a German artist signed his name, "T. Grob", to a painting in which he depicted Emperor Norton as one of a large cast of characters. And, by the mid 1870s, one could pop into a San Francisco shop and buy a sculptured figurine of the Emperor.
Emperor Norton's legacy in the visual arts has grown substantially in the nearly 160 years since he declared his Empire in 1859. Beyond that: From the 1930s to the 1960s, there were a number of dramatic portrayals of the Emperor on film. And, since the 1950s, there have been a half-dozen or so operas and musicals about Emperor Norton, plus an impressive array of songs covering a wide terrain of pop, rock, folk and jazz.
As part of its mission to advance the legacy of Emperor Norton, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign long has been interested in the variety of ways in which the Emperor has been taken up as a muse for art.
To engage others in this aspect of our mission, we are creating a comprehensive, authoritative, searchable digital archive of representations and interpretations of Emperor Norton in the visual arts, in music and in film — the mediums that are most readily presented online. We are calling this archive...
ARENA: Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film.
The "holy grail" of Searchability will come later.
For now, we just want to begin putting what we've learned under one roof — in the Arena, as it were — so that others can start using it too. And there's quite a lot of stuff in here!
Music and Film sections will be added later.
We begin with the Visual Arts.
ARENA launches today with four annotated slideshow galleries featuring artistic "renderings" of Emperor Norton from the early 1860s to the present:
- Paintings, Drawings, Engravings & Illustrations
- Sculptures & Fabrications
- Public Art
We will continue to add to these galleries as we find important work — and as we are able to scan images that are not yet in the digital realm.
A new tab — Archive of Art, Music & Film — has been added to the main navigation of our Web site. This currently includes a drop-down menu with (1) an Intro page and (2) a Visual Arts page that includes links to dedicated pages for each of the four Visual Arts galleries.
So, come on in and have a look around! There are many delights — and many yet to come!
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