Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Wife, Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, in her own words

From the transcript of the 1989 video celebrating Rosenberg & Stiebel gallery’s 50th anniversary in the United States.

“I first came to Rosenberg & Stiebel as a student.  The Institute of Fine Arts Museum Training program had a marvelous method of training you in the old days.  They said you had $1,000 from The Metropolitan Museum of Art to go out on the market and find something the Museum really needed.  Even then (1969) that was not a great deal of money and you were to reserve a piece and present it to the curators.  One of the pieces presented each year would be purchased.”

“I was given a list of the dealers in my field of French eighteenth century and Rosenberg & Stiebel was identified as the ladies and gentlemen’s dealer.  I came to their front door, very timid, very frightened.  I remember being greeted by the most gracious gentleman that I had ever seen, my ideal of civilized male humanity.  He, however, absolutely dashed all my hopes.  He turned me over to his son!  Fortunately he eventually became my father-in-law.”

“When I became a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was given the thankless task of organizing an international art dealers exhibition.  The only good part about it was that my fellow co-organizer on the dealers’ side was Gerald Stiebel.   We got very much involved and eventually married. And ten years later I joined the gallery.” 

“Being an art historian is, obviously, a value to the gallery.  It is part of my contribution but I think what’s more important than my academic studies was my experience of 13 years on the curatorial staff at the Metropolitan.  There I began to really deal with works of art in the original and become their advocate.  Finding great works of art, special works, speaking works and then interpreting them to other people whether they are the higher ups on the curatorial staff or the general public.  It’s very much the same thing we do at the gallery."

Penelope installing case at the Metropolitan Museum

“Scholarship is essential in the art field.   You have to be able to understand what the work of art is about.  You have to understand its context.  You can learn that at school or you can learn it on your own but you have to know it.”

“I don’t think that has really changed over the decades.  Perhaps the knowledge was more intuitive in the early days of the firm.  Now we back it up with more academic research perhaps than was available then but it’s still the intuition that is the basic guide.”

“The reason the gallery has survived and been successful for so many years (since the 1860’s) is the nature of the family itself.  Its members, each of them, have that intuitive eye of connoisseur ship but there is more than that.  The family revolves around objects of art.  Each child grows up with art as the daily conversation at the dinner table.  The way each member of the family relates to the outside world is through objects of art.  To the Stiebels art is more than business.  It’s more that we do, art is who we are.”

Conclusion from Gerald:  As you know we have moved on and closed the gallery a couple of years ago.  My daughter owns a bookstore, my older son is in Traverse City, Michigan in  real estate and our son is an actor but all retain interest to one degree or another in the arts.  Once there it doesn’t just disappear!

Penelope and I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, “The City Different” and have exchanged our passions for European Art to Native American and Spanish Colonial art expanding our horizons in the art world.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dragged to Art

A few weeks ago I thought “Dragged to Art” would be an interesting subject to write about but then forgot it again.  Meanwhile, my associate, Vince Hickman, sent me a transcript from a film we did in 1989 celebrating our Gallery’s (Rosenberg & Stiebel) 50 years in the U.S.

There I found the following:  “I remember it was a great treat whenever I could go to the office,  (it was never referred to as the gallery).  I came to the “office” but there were wonderful objects there. My favorite experience was to be shown all the secret compartments in the French 18th century furniture.  When my parents went to Europe I was often taken along, which might sound like a great treat, but it really wasn’t.  I was literally dragged from museum to museum, from church to church, which I was not very pleased about.  But it seems that I got a lot out of it anyway.”

Some 25 years later we would take my kids, Danny and Cathy, with us to Parke-Bernet (bought out later by Sotheby’s) as well as to exhibitions.  I remember when at the auction house my daughter ran into a fellow student, when they were about 10, who asked her.  “Do your parents drag you here every week too.”  We laughed but Cathy probably did not. Ten years later, however, Cathy was at the University of Pennsylvania complaining bitterly that her art history teacher had questions on the exam that he had not covered in class but she added, “don’t worry, dad, they were on French 18th century.”

Our children are dragged to art mostly for our own convenience but we justify it by saying it is important for their education, which, of course, is true.  My wife, Penelope, was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum at the time and every once in a while, when it was our turn with the kids, she had them with her at the museum.  There were no accommodations for children in those days but her colleagues were very tolerant of the situation.  She tried to make it as much fun for them as she could such as playing with models that had been used in putting on exhibitions and taking them into the secret places such as storerooms and vaults where visitors never went.  I remember for me as well the excitement of being allowed into the storerooms, which I find just as exciting for me today as it was then.

When Danny was with Penelope they would look at paintings and Penelope would ask him to tell her what he thought was going on and he made up these very funny stories about the pictures.  It made no difference if he did not know the story the artist had in mind but he was actually looking and and seeing the paintings.

Danny at the Nassau County Museum in Long Island

Our son, Hunter, was dragged to art for the first time when he was just a couple of days old.  He had trouble when he was born moving his head to the left side so the doctor recommended keeping him on his side.  How do you do that??? We found he was mesmerized by the artist Chuck Close on the cover of “Art News” which we had in the hospital room so we put it on the side of his plastic tub and he stayed that way!

His next experience was when he was a few months old and the only day in her entire employ Hunter’s nanny did not show up for work.  That day Penelope had a Press opening for an Exhibition called, “New Glass” at the Metropolitan Museum so we had to bring him along in his carriage.  Remember the W.C. Fields’ quote,  "Never work with animals or children."!  Well I am not sure that the press paid proper attention to “New Glass”

When Hunter was in kindergarten the headmistress called Penelope in because Hunter kept talking about what various things meant and it was not necessarily about what they saw.  Penelope asked if she meant symbolism and said that they had discussed the significance of the Cross outside of a building nearby which had been converted into a church. Although it was just two perpendicular bars it represented the cross on which Christ was crucified and the belief of people who follow his teachings to this day.  The head mistress did not think that was appropriate for a 5 year old.  Good that she was not around when we later took him to Europe and he saw reliquaries and became fascinated by them! 

In high school the headmaster at his school, believing in a Classical education, dragged all the students to the Metropolitan Museum.  They had to first go around the museum and pick out one object and learn about it and then tell the class about it.  From then on when they went back to the museum with the class to different departments they had to find “their object’”. Hunter took the relatively easy way out and picked an object from his father’s gallery but he still takes people to the same piece today, twenty years later.  It was an imposing cabinet by Fremiet and Diehl.

In hindsight, one does realize, when it came to art, how incredibly spoiled we were.  When I was working toward my Masters degree in art history I had a seminar on medieval art.  I took advantage of the fact that the curator of medieval art from the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Hans Swarzenski, came into the gallery and gave me a number of leads for a paper I was working on.  No surprise, I aced the course.  Maybe, you remember the movie “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield, who decides that when his son goes to college, maybe he should get that degree he never had.  So when there is a paper given on space he calls in the scientists from NASA!   Obviously, this was meant comically but realistically he had learned that in business you find the best expertise you can find.

When it came to art my children had it from day one, and so did I with  that resource and expertise at my side throughout my youth and through most of my business career, my father.  It just took me some years to appreciate it.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World

I wouldn’t be writing about “Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World” if our friend, Clifford La Fontaine, a museum designer who has worked all over the world and spent many years at the Metropolitan Museum had not raved about it.  I actually saw it previously but only to run through shortly after it opened and I was at the Met to see other shows.  When I went back to New York with my wife, however, we spent time looking and it was a most rewarding.

The show covers the Hellenistic period from 323–30 B.C. after the conquests of Alexander the Great.  It would not have been possible to put on this exhibition without the cooperation of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, which lent approximately one third of the art works to the show.  Like so many grand exhibitions it happened because the Berlin museum was closed for major renovations.  The last time I was at that museum it was still East Berlin and I am ashamed to say my best memory was being pulled into a space under the grand steps to the altar where I was offered “a good deal” on East German Marks for U. S. dollars… what would you do?  Other lenders to the show were museums in Greece, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia. In fact there were objects lent from 12 different countries.  The catalog, which is a must if you are into this period as a collector, classicist or just a museum-goer, has about 75 contributors.

This is a very large exhibition with 265 objects.  It would take days to study each one and, of course, people devote their lives to this period of archaeology.  My world at the earliest starts a millennium later so I am not going to deal with the fascinating aspects of where these artifacts were found.  Suffice it to say that the Hellenistic City of Pergamon was an ancient Greek city, which today, is north and west of the modern city of Bergama in Turkey.  Here is a rendering of the Acropolis at Pergamon by Friedrich (Von) Thiersch (1882) from Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

As you know if you have followed my missives, in my opinion, an exhibition stands on the works of art exhibited no matter the grand ideas the curator(s) may have had and there are so many “10’s” in this show it is very hard to choose.   Just as the tallest person in a room will grab your attention so does the Statue of Athena Parthenos dating from circa 170 B.C. lent by the Berlin museum.  This marble is over 10 feet tall with an additional 3 foot stand. As you can see in the following image it towers above all.

I have often thought of Classical Antiquities merely as fragments and I usually like the finished work of art better, but sometimes an incomplete piece such as a painting or sculpture can even be more exciting as was shown by the strange exhibition “Unfinished Thought Left Visible”.

Some of the works of art in the Pergamon show appear unfinished today though originally they were finished and a couple of thousand years, and sometimes burial, took their toll!  For instance, the bronze “Portrait of a Man” from the Greek, Late Hellenistic Period lent by the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is assumed to be a fragment of a statue from an open public space.  I am sure it has much more poignancy and focus with just the head staring at you or just beyond!

What struck me most was how so many objects seemed to relate to later periods.  The small bronze of “Alexander the Great Astride Bucephalos” Roman, Late Republican or Early Imperial period, second half of the 1st century BC, is already a copy of a Greek original made 200 years earlier.  Yet there are very similar Renaissance  bronzes of horses and riders done in the 16th century as well, such as the bronze of horse and rider from the Met’s Collection given by Judge Irwin Untermyer.

The attraction to gold cannot be explained, but it has always been highly valued and two of the pieces here are real stunners.  There is the Myrtle Wreath that would knock the socks of any Princess, Jewish or otherwise!  It is Greek from the Late Classical period 350-325 B.C. lent by  the Archaeological Museum, Thessaloniki in Greece.  If you are into sets of Jewelry how about adding these gold armbands which I have seen before in the Met’s collection but hit me even harder in context.   I would not have been surprised if you told me they were made by Bulgari a few years ago!

Ending as usual with a personal favorite three Theater Masks, Pentelic marble, 2, Greek Hellenistic period, 2nd century B.C. and the 3rd, on the left, is Greek Early Imperial Period, 1st century A.D., National Archaeological Museum, Athens.  The masks were made in Attica, the birthplace of drama.

The exhibition closes July 17 so if you are in New York in the next two weeks, don’t miss it!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Currents 2016

Late to the party yet again but we were not in town for most of this show which lasted just 3 weeks.  Every year there is a New Media show with artists from all over the world.  See my Missive from last year.  The most important thing to repeat is that New Media is a 21st century term that translates as where art meets technology.  This means that it is much more interactive than a traditional art exhibition and could not be more different.

The main show is always at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe known simply as El Museo.  Located in a former warehouse, the organization has a large permanent collection of art from local and international artists which is rotated regularly in a small gallery but the larger space is available for outside fairs.  They also have a black box theater.

Going into the Currents exhibition I find a disorienting experience because you go into a totally black space lighted only by the individual exhibits, which are usually moving and flashing everywhere.  Since I am not as steady on my feet as I once was, I walk very gingerly.  Then like an oasis you encounter an exhibit that intrigues and usually there are chairs or even a couch you can observe from.  If only more traditional museums and exhibitions would learn from this.  Often there are earphones for audio connected to the exhibit which I find sometimes adds and sometimes detracts from what I am watching.

This little Robot roaming around, it seemed within a limited radius suddenly grabbed my leg!
It let go quickly but I was surprised.  In fact I totally forgot to look at the label to identify the artist!   When I returned to the exhibition a few days later the tank shaped robot was not there but I learned it was also the Currents’ mascot and its name was Stanley made by Michael Schipling of Santa Fe.

“Nowhere Near” (2015) by Sarah Choo Jing  from Singapore is a bit easier than some to relate to.  Here are two street scenes where you have to look everywhere in the moving image or you might miss something.  In the first you see some action in two places and in the second part the only action is a woman in a window who I believe is washing her hair in the shower.  There are other scenes as well which force the viewer to concentrate and keep looking at the image in order not to miss something.

A new technology has arrived in the last few years at least commercially speaking and that is Virtual Reality.  With the right goggles and video you can look at a 3D image not only in front of you but also all around as well as above and below by simply moving your head and turning around.   As this develops it will bring us some fascinating material which could scare the hell out of us in a horror movie or help in our understanding of an historical event.  What knowledge you could absorb and observe if you could be in the middle of the second Continental Congress of July 2, 1776 and knowing the Declaration of Independence was going to be issued on July 4, listening to the arguments both pro and con about separating ourselves from the Crown!  There were several virtual reality experiences to be had at Currents.  I watched “Hypnagogic Hympnopompia” (2015) by Reilly Donovan of Seattle, Washington.  At first I thought the title was nonsense syllables, but, thanks to Google, I learned that it had to do with hallucinations during sleep.  This made sense as I as saw objects floating and moving all around me.  You need goggles and earphones to get the full effect but here is a video showing how you could use your hands to move around the scene.

We went with an old friend from New York, a museum designer who has worked at museums around the world, Clifford LaFontaine.  He found many of the entries rather superficial and not original.  I have picked as an example “New Millennium Workout Routine” (2014) by Yaloo from Chicago, a parody on our obsession with exercise.

Clifford’s favorite was by Yang Yongliang “Code and Noise: Rising Mist” courtesy of Duval Contemporary.  The video image is done in the traditional style of Chinese painting and calligraphy.  It is about “the devastating effects of uncontrolled urbanization and Industrialization” but it also resembles a traditional Chinese landscape painting.  In my short video there is not enough time to see how the mist starts to rise eventually enveloping the entire landscape.  You can see, however the 3 waterfalls and at the lower left the cars on the highway and the bridge.  You will probably spot moving images I have missed.

I have always believed that art is a qualitative term and just being able to put paint on canvas or throwing a pot does not make one an artist.  The work has to reach a certain inspirational level.  I am still working on how much of what I saw at Currents qualifies but the search has been enjoyable.  Next year we will have to get to some of the other Currents events all around town.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation may have moved from its lovely property in Lower Merion Township near Philadelphia, but it has not gotten any easier to deal with than when Albert Barnes himself ran the show with his odd art historical ideas.  

At that time the Barnes was at its original site and one could enjoy the eccentricity of a very wealthy collector, Albert C. Barnes (1872-1951).  See my Missive from the last time I was there.  But to move it and do the same thing to a new building in Philadelphia just frustrated me.  I understand that the judge in the case acted in his King Solomon capacity allowing the move but insisting that every work of art remain in the same position as it was in Barnes' last instillation.  Since the latter moved his pictures around regularly I am not sure what the judge thinks he achieved.  Barnes did not have enough room to install all his paintings so some will remain in storage?!  Too bad the Judge did not leave well enough alone and keep the Barnes in the house that the collector and his wife had built for it.

This time the pictures became a cacophony of images for me.  Barnes had a very interesting eye and for some artists such as Cezanne and Matisse it could not be better.  This is also true for Picasso and Gauguin.  Unfortunately, it does not hold true for Renoir and while there are a few decent ones there are over 150 small truly dreadful potboilers which are heavily interspersed with some gems. 

One of the great Gauguins was placed between two Prendergasts making the latter seem like a mediocre artist, which I don't think he is.  The installation that bothered me the most was in gallery 1 where the great Seurat, “Les Poseurs” (The Models) was placed above the great Cezanne, The Card Players, so one could appreciate neither!

Barnes would not allow labels so they get around that with an audio guide as well as printed guides in each gallery.  Also, since Barnes wanted no interference from art historians whom he discouraged from coming to the Barnes, the printed guide mentions tentative re-attributions after Barnes's original designations.

What would have been wrong with limiting the number of people allowed in any one day into the old Barnes?  The people of Lower Merion enjoyed complaining about the tour busses but then protested when the Barnes was moved. 

The truth of the matter is that it was a battle between two titans.  Walter Annenberg (1908-2002)  and Albert Barnes, and since Annenberg lived longer, he won!  If you don't believe me, a huge atrium at the new Barnes, suitable for large parties, which brings in revenue, bears the Annenberg name who, of course, contributed a great deal of money to the entire effort!

I have the temerity to suggest that I could, on my own, turn the new Barnes into a first class museum without having to acquire a single work of art and by just changing the installation.  How wonderful it would be to show all the great masterpieces, and there are many, on the first floor and then use as much space as needed for all the Renoirs on the second floor with one important one in each gallery so that you could see the changes during various periods of the artist’s life.  I would put sculpture, possibly with the silver and pewter decorative arts, in their own galleries as well, rather than sky them high on the walls where they look like mere adornments or relegated assortments to mixed vitrines.

Pablo Picasso, “Child Seated in an Armchair"

Years, in this case half a century, after someone has died the world has  changed, following their wishes to the letter can very well do a disservice to their legacy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Main Point Books

My daughter, Cathy, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a combined major in English and Economics.  She then took her LSAT's for law school because she was not sure what she wanted to do after college.  She did well on the test but as Cathy put it,  "the essay on my law school  application 'why do you want to be a lawyer?' saved me”!

Instead Cathy got a job at a prestigious  public relations company, Hill & Knowlton.  Not satisfied with her well paying job and nice office, she went on for her MBA at Wharton Business school and got a job at Lever Brothers where she was given a cubical from which to market soap products.   Proving her father wrong yet again, she made back her tuition and lost salary within the year!

Like so many women of her generation she then left the labor force and went on to bear two sons, Joshua and Matthew.  As they reached junior high and high school she would pick up small jobs here and there using her business school skills and worked for her kids school in development.

Cathy loved to read from a very young age and always had her face in a book even in the bathtub!    When her boys were old enough to take care of themselves, it was only natural for her to follow her dream and open a book store.  Happily, throughout this process her husband, Jon, who is in the financial world, was there to support her and give her intelligent advice.

Photo by Dan Stiebel

Now her business degree came in handy.  The first question to answer was where to open the bookstore.  She lives in one of the towns outside Philadelphia and  wanted it to be within easy driving distance of home and find an area where she could depend on people interested in books.  She hit upon Bryn Mawr where there's are several colleges and the last book store, a Barnes & Noble, had closed 18 months before.  Her shop was lovely but modest, with little room for expansion.  We have been in a few times and It did have a wonderful selection of books.  In fact I was surprised to see that the Native American writer, Sherman Alexie had books in 3 different sections of her shop.   I have sent a few people from New York and even Santa Fe there who loved it and particularly Cathy's expert counsel on book selection, either for an individual or as a gift.

Photo by Matt Godfrey

Unfortunately, there is not enough going on in the area to bring the the foot traffic desired to Bryn Mawr's Lancaster Avenue.  When Cathy learned about a larger space in the nearby town of Wayne she went to see it.   There she found that the new space was larger and on a street with 4 restaurants and the movie theater emptied out a couple of doors down.  If you come in by train and walk into town you have to pass the new Main Point Books. This will all add up to far more foot traffic!  Her husband was also encouraging the expansion.  They both knew that if you don't grow you shrink. She went for it! 

Here is an interview Cathy gave about her book store and the opening of the new one:

In the extra space she is not going to put in the proverbial coffee bar but rather make more room for books and an expanded space for people to come and attend the more than 100 programs she has a year for book groups, children’s book readings and  authors signing their books and talking about them.

Main Point Books in Wayne is not quite ready yet.  It is scheduled to open on July 25 with the official celebration of its new home on Sunday, July 31 ... with a midnight launch party for the new Harry Potter Script, the play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

“The Improbability of Love” by Hannah Rothschild

Hannah Rothschild is the daughter of Lord Jacob Rothschild. And her first novel is an exciting satire on the art world called, “The Improbability of Love”.  She comes from the perfect world to write on this subject.

Allow me to digress, should you find yourself in England with a craving for French culture you need not cross the channel but visit Waddesdon Manor, the Rothschild residence that is now a museum, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a one hour train trip from London.

I remember going there with my cousin Raphael Rosenberg who was working with Dorothy de Rothschild, known as Dolly, the widow of Baron James de Rothschild.  The land was originally farmland, which Baron Ferdinand purchased in 1874 to build the palace and gardens and was inherited by Baron James.  Raphael was assisting Dolly with an appraisal for the family and that is when I was allowed to come along.  I don’t remember the name of the curator who showed us around but he was known as the Colonel.  Waddesdon was turned over to the government as a trust house but Dolly supervised the opening of the ground floor slowly opening more and more of the palace until her death in 1988.  What a treat it was for me as a student to get up close and personal with the works of art with no crowds and no ropes holding us back.  Going back since has been wonderful but never quite the same!  In this short video you can see a few of the treasures from the house.

Waddesdon may now belong to the Nation, but it is administered by the Rothschild Charitable Trust overseen by Lord Jacob Rothschild.  You can see why the daughter of this philanthropist and art lover who continues to buy works of art for Waddesdon, and is herself on the board of the National Gallery in London, is perfectly equipped to write on the art world.

The novel includes a wonderful cast of characters.  At its heart is a young woman, Annie, whose aspiration is to become a great chef.  She buys a painting in a junk shop for an unrequited love and does not know what to do with it when she is stood up.  The hero of the piece is the painting itself, which is not shy to tell the highs and low points of its life.  It has lived in some of the great palaces of Europe but dwells on its owners such as Catherine the Great and Napoleon.  We learn that the painting is by Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) the artist that brought to the fore, the fĂȘte champĂȘtre, scenes of elaborate garden parties with plenty of frolicking most popular at the French Court.

Antoine Watteau, Wallace Collection

The picture refers to itself as "Moi", me in French, its first language.  “Moi” being from pre-revolutionary France, French phrases slip in every once in a while.

Annie wants to get rid of the picture but her alcoholic mother who has moved in with her daughter believes there is merit in the work and therein lies the plot.  How do you authenticate a painting?  What role does the condition of the picture have and what is it worth?

Believing in “Moi” Annie's mother, Evie, wants to investigate further and stuffs the painting into a plastic shopping bag, to take it to the Wallace Collection.  “Moi” complains bitterly that this is just not on for such an important picture, though no one knows this for sure at this point in the plot.  At the Wallace Evie takes the picture out of the bag and starts comparing it to paintings on the walls.

Nicolas Lancret, Wallace Collection

The picture shares the title with the book, “The Improbability of Love”, though never spelled out the theme appears in a number of the relationships including between Annie and Jesse, an artist and tour guide she meets at the Wallace Collection.  Jesse tries to teach Annie how to learn more about her painting.  They visit his friend the conservator at the National Gallery and he tells her to visit the drawings room at the British Museum.  On her own she visits the expert art historian who declares the masterpiece a fake.  Every stop both advances the plot and teaches something about the art world.

Like any good novel on the art market there is a “Nazi War Loot” angle and, of course, the inevitable auction.  The exaggerated motives for all the high and mighty to bid at the auction are hilarious, such as the President of France who feels it is a matter of French pride to repatriate this lost masterpiece and the Prime Minister of England wants to buy it just to spite the French, the Russian Oligarch wants to impress his girl friend, and the old dowager wants to liquidate her late husband’s foundation for this one last great purchase.

In between we get a number of lessons from “Moi” as well, such as his fear of the restorer as they can so easily damage his surface. There is the esthete Barty who shows the expatriate Russian what he can do to demonstrate his love for his girl friend.  The irrepressible Barty also tells the director of the National Gallery who complains that he has no time to look at art because he has meetings with Union leaders and lunches and dinners with prospective donors that he  is not alone -- the great  Renaissance sculptor “Donatello couldn’t pick up a chisel without Cosimo de Medici bursting into his studio.”

The most hilarious part of the book is probably at the end when you hear how all the characters ended up.  My intention, however, with this Missive is to encourage those interested in the Old Master world to read or listen to “The Improbability of Love”.  So no more spoilers!