|Portrait of Ambroise Vollard |
1899Musee du Petit Palais, Paris; Venturi 696
And here are some more wonderful excerpts from this essay.
"The bow tie marks a middle class of men who have higher cultural and social status, above and beyond their often low economic status. They are ‘maestros’, the shamans of the ‘Western’ culture whose performative competence in orchestrating meanings of the bow tie is indicative of their competence in other cultural performances."
"In opposition to many proletarian radicals’ investment in self-effacing everyday garb of collectivism, the bow tie indicates the self-interest and power of the ‘maestro’. Power, cultural as much as economic – is not in this case delegated but ‘held’ and concentrated – much as a sorcerer might ‘hold’ a magical spell before it is cast."
"The bow tie is as much the costume of the professional who wishes to be taken seriously and stand out, as the ‘uniform’ of the comedian. Or, misunderstandings can be the source of the unexpected meanings, as the context in which the wearer sports a bow tie moderates its meaning and the ‘image’ of the wearer (David 1992)."
"The ambiguous social status of the bow tied male (servant of patron?) makes the meanting of the bow tie inherently reversible. It can this be called a liminal signifier, as if on a threshold (limen) turned, Janus-like, into both spaces. It is, in Victor Turner’s phrase ‘betwixt and between’ (1979)."