MY LIFE - THE WEBSITE _[may be not]
- since this is bound to be the last bubble rising up to
the surface, as i sink into the quicksand of oblivion -
let it be a big one - so it may burst with proper aplomb -
if not notoriety…._it may lack substance, and have holes -
(along with the best of cheeses) - but that’s how it unraveled….
I was born on January 23, 1920 in Vienna, Austria, ), between my
oldest sister, Edith and my younger sister, Ruth. Raised in a
Villa sporting a fountain spouting water from a fish’s
mouth, our family’s short-lived prosperity arose from
the fact that, after WordWar I, there was a market for everything.
If you had money to buy a boxcar of anything (you did not inquire what the boxcar contained), you could sell it, for a profit.
Our wealth soon lost, the family moved into an apartment in the city [Lackierergasse 1A, in the IXth district] adjacent to Beethovengasseand the Landesgericht - a massive concrete structure, upon which's street level configurations boys often deposited their school bags, while indulging in more or less weighty conversations. I attended Realschule from 1932 to 1938. Before I was able to graduate from this equivalent to
our High School, Hitler’s militias marched into Austria in March of 1938... DER ANSCHLUSS. and so begins the next chapter of our/my life….
Here are some photographs from that period
A Family Group...That's me on the far right...my mother standing to the right in the rear
Myself and Sister Edith
Edith, Ruthie and myself
As a Young Boy Scout
Throughout my youthful imaginings, I fancied becoming an artist, -a sculptor
in particular, and tried to advance toward that aim, whatever situation I found myself in. In Vienna, I had made some early attempts on my own.
Now stranded in Brussels, I was granted access to my first formal training...classes in sculpture... which consisted
of modeling copies of classical plaster casts from antiquity in clay, moving on to almost life-sized studies of live models.
In order for us to exit Brussels as refugees, a sponsorship was needed to secure passage to any country that would have us. Fortunately, a distant relative in New Rochelle, NY agreed to support us with a sponsorship, and we were able to secure passage on the last ship of refugees headed to the US. On arrival, we found we would not be able to remain in New York, and had the chance to select California as our destination for settlement. I had 4 years to pursue my art studies before WW2 caught up with me.
With my father in New Rochele 1939
I was drafted into the army as a resident alien in 1943 . I was soon shipped out to Iceland over a submarine -infested ocean, a US Weapons Depot at that time. To make a long war story short, I was discharged in 1946 and went to live with my older sister’s family in Long Island, NY. Because of my military service, I was able to become a US citizen.
Drafted into the army 1943
Under grants of the GI Bill after the war, numerous art schools were opening up in New York and I enrolled to further my studies. It was during this time that I met Meryl, an aspiring modern dancer and sometime artists' model. She was posing for life–sketching classes at my sister’s home, and sketching from live models became a passion for the rest of my life. After a brief romance in New York, Meryl and I drove to Los Angeles and took up living in a trailer under a walnut tree in my mother’s back yard. During this time in Los Angeles I also continued art studies at Otis Art Institute. At Otis, I served as Student Body President, cultivated friendships with the sculptor Gordon Newell, the illustrator and drawing instructor Joe Mugnaini, and nurtured my lifelong friendship with the artist Hans Burkhardt. It was Burkhardt, who had built his own house in Laurel Canyon, who inspired me to find a lot and build my own house a stone's throw from his.
I started building in 1949. When the house was finished and Meryl and I were newly wed, we rented it out and left for Mexico. In Mexico, I was able to avail myself of time left for studies under the GI Bill.
With Meryl shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, about 1947
While I attended classes at the Escuela de la Esmeralda in Mexico City, Meryl continued to work in modern dance. It was in Mexico we befriended the dancer Merce Cunningham. Fortuitously, it was in school in Mexico that I began to further my skills in print making – a specialty which later became my sinecure in college teaching. When Meryl and I returned to Los Angeles, I was recruited by June Wayne to be trained, along with others, as a technician printmaker in the revival of stone lithography – a program for which she had secured a Ford Foundation Grant. It was called the Tamarind Institute of Lithography. The Tamarind training, where artists were recruited to make lithographs in the Tamarind workshops, led to the crucial development of the rest of my career.It was there that I met Robert Hansen. As a prominent Los Angeles artist, he had been selected to produce a suite of prints in collaboration with Tamarind printers.
With Meryl in Mexico
At that time, as chairman of the Occidental College Art Department, he encouraged me to apply for a position to establish a printmaking curriculum within their Art Department. I applied, and - lo and behold -I secured the position. I was at Occidental for 5 years, followed by a stint teaching at CSU Northridge pending appointment to a permanent position at CSU Dominguez Hills. The position at CSUDH lasted until my retirement as ProfessorEmeritus in 1985. During my tenure at Dominguez Hills, I was also actively involved with the Los Angeles Printmaking Society, and served that organization of printmakers as president. I exhibited frequently in LAPS and other invitational and juried shows around the country.
After retiring, although I continued for some years drawing from the model, my creative energies became focused on landscaping the 16 contiguous hillside lots that Meryl and I acquired one by one over our years in Laurel Canyon, and on the literary expression of my socio-political perspectives that resulted in the publication of my first book..."Not for Drones."
Front cover..."Not for Drones"
Back cover..."Not for Drones"