Weltschmerz in the park


Recently, Karen Resta of Postcards from the Dinner Table posted a series of postcards that conveyed a sense of weltschmerz.  She had been inspired by the style of posts at Unhappy Hipsters, and referenced two in particular, of which my favorite is this one.  Then, Evelyn Yvonne Theriault of A Canadian Family posted her idea of a weltschmerzian postcard.  My contribution is based on the definition of weltschmerz found in my tattered copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary 2nd edition:
 
Weltschmerz  n.  [G., world pain]  sentimental pessimism or melancholy over the state of the world. 
 
VIEW THROUGH SOUTH PARK, ROCHESTER, N. Y. - obverse

World-weary artist

Pierre set aside his palette and wandered away from the other artists, who were so gaily rendering their sunlit park scenes with little dots of cadmium yellow, bright green and cobalt blue.   The murmuring of the brook seemed to softly call his name, and he waded into the cool liquid as though stepping back in time.  His shimmering reflection reminded him of how much he had enjoyed painting impressions of the play of light across moving water; how he had guided the brush over the canvas with swift, long strokes.
 
  
VIEW THROUGH SOUTH PARK, ROCHESTER, N. Y. - reverse

VIEW THROUGH SOUTH PARK, ROCHESTER, N. Y. - reverse

The postcard that is the subject of this weltschmerz reverie is VIEW THROUGH SOUTH PARK, ROCHESTER, N. Y., an unused, undivided-back (printed before March 1, 1907, when the undivided-back postcard era ended) postcard published by The Hugh C. Leighton Company, Manufacturers, Portland, Maine, U. S. A. and Frankfort o/Main, Germany.  Number 10044.  South Park, in the City of Rochester, New York (Monroe County) is now called Genesee Valley Park.  South Park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. who also played a part (along with Daniel Burnham) in the landscape design of the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893.

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5 Responses to “Weltschmerz in the park”

  1. eva marie Says:

    Oh, those weltschmerzian artists! I love this park, makes me want to go out and dabble myself! Didn’t Grandpa grow up in Rochester? Could he have taken a promenade through this lovely place?

  2. Susan E Says:

    Great post, Leo! Love the front image and the back of this postcard is interesting, too!
    And – a World’s Columbian Expo connection – the Rochester park system was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted of The Wooded Isle fame.

  3. postcardy Says:

    Great weltschmerz card and story. That definition is very good too. I checked my dictionary and it says the same thing.

    • postcardiness Says:

      Thanks, Postcardy. The central figure is turned slightly toward the right bank of the creek. His head is slightly cocked in the same direction, too. If we follow his gaze, we will see his cube-shaped wooden box of artist supplies (with a handle on top), and just a little bit of one of the legs of his artist easel, the rest of which is hidden by the large, curving tree trunk in the foreground of the lower right corner of the card. The original photograph upon which this postcard is based must have been taken late in the afternoon (or early in the morning) of a day in early spring, since the shadows are so long, and only a few of the trees have begun to leaf. The tentacle-like shadows and bare tree limbs provide a stark contrast to the yellow-green grass and the sunshine that is so bright that one of the artists has erected a parasol to shade himself and his work. This tension enhances the weltschmerzian feel of the postcard. — Leo

  4. Karen Resta Says:

    Ha ha ha! Just saw this now. Excellent, made me laugh out loud.

    Perfect, Leo!! :)

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