Archive for June, 2008

Four days to go to the exhibition and the excitement is building.

Lots of the people I am speaking to (well, I speak to all the right people don’t I) are excited about the exhibition and are going to come and take a look and some even maybe to buy.

My website and blog are also getting a record number of hits, so there is obviously interest out there. 

This afternoon I am taking the pictures along to the gallery, so we are now all set. See you all there!

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Click on the image to read (assuming you can read Hebrew).

This is from “Hed Beit Shemesh” this weekend. “Hed Beit Shemesh” is one of the local newspapers. I sent it to the other local papers as well, but looks like they didn’t want to give me free publicity.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Here is the image I promised this morning. The picture is a view of a grove of olive trees. You see the sunlight coming through the bracnches and making patches of cool shade on the parched summer ground. It is mostly finished, but still a bit of work to be done to get it hanging together.

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Forget the £41M. It’s just beautiful.

“Le bassin aux nymphéas”, 1919, Claude Monet.

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Being an incredibly organized person, everything is now ready for the opening of the exhibition next week. I just got some pictures back from framing yesterday evening and they look fantastic. Pictures look so much more impressive when thay are framed.

A quick plug for my framer. I use Alon in Ramat Beit Shemesh. I highly recommend him. He works from home and his phone number is 02-9997712.

However, even with all the praparations for the exhibition there are other things going on.

First of all I have started a new piece. I wanted to show the picture here but I left it on my USB memory stick at home. I downloaded the pictures from the camera, rushed to move them to the memory stick… and then left it plugged into the PC. The picture is of a grove of olive trees with sunlight coming through the branches leaving dappled shade on the ground. Hopefully I’ll get time to blog tomorrow and I’ll post the picture.

But that is not all. I made another sale – my first foreign buyer. A couple of weeks ago I got an enquiry from a woman in California and after receiving the payment via PayPal I sent it off this morning (see image of the package on the right). I sent it packed in layers of bubble wrap and cardboard, by international express mail which is a lot cheaper than courier companies. The piece she bought is Migdal David Nighttime 3 that appears above at the start of the post.

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Taken from the opening passage of “First Diasporist Manifesto” by R. B. Kitaj:

“Diasporist painting is unfolding commentary on its life-source, the contemplation of a transience, a Midrash (exposition, exegesis of non-literal meaning) in paint and somehow, collected, these paintings, these circumstantial allusions, form themselves into secular Responsa or reactions to one’s transient restlessness, un-at-homeness, groundlessness.”

I haven’t read the book, so I am not familiar with his term “diasporist painting”. What I liked was the allusion between painting and midrash. Something to think about.

Another quote also from the Diasporist Manifesto, that I saw in another article that made me go look up stuff about Kitaj:

“Painting is a great idea I carry from place to place. It is an idea full of ideas, like a refugee’s suitcase, a portable Ark of the Covenant.”

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Today, (Hebrew date 21st Sivan) is the sixth Jahrzeit (aniversary of the death) of my late father Günther Stern, so I wanted to dedicate a post today to his memory.

My father’s life was not easy. He was born to a well-to-do and respected family in Frankfurt Am Main in 1916. His father was a businessman from a long line in the family business but when the 1920s came his health failed along with his business and my father was left orphaned from father at the young age of five. His mother remarried and they moved to Köln but troubles were just starting.

When Hitler rose to power in the 1930s he was already a young man. Although his family had the foresight and managed to escape to England, he was unable to get a visa and fled to Belgium, luckily getting his British visa there and escaping just in time before the doors finally closed.

In England he was interned as an enemy alien. After a while in a British prison camp he was released due to ill health and got work on the factory floor of an electrical equipment manufacturer. He worked there for close on fifty years, moving up to senior engineering positions in development, pre-sales and customer support.

During the blitz he served as a fire watchman although in typical style he never collected the medal at the end of the war.

Many years passed and only in 1964 at the age of 48 did he marry and start a family. My parents moved from the Jewish end of town to the very un-Jewish suburb of Sutton in South London. Jewish life was hard in this environment but we were brought up in one of the few observant Jewish homes for miles around.

When in 1990 I was planning my move to Israel he was very worried that I was moving to a “war zone” as he put it, but five years later, still deeply uncertain of the wisdom of the move he came together with my mother to join me and to be beside his grandchildren.

The last twenty years of my father’s life were dogged by ill health – first heart problems and then ever-advancing Parkinson’s disease. In 2001 his health took a turn for the worse and he spent the next half year in and out of the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem until he passed away in June 2002.

Here came the final irony that it was the philanthropy of his great-grandfather that had helped set up this very hospital back in 1873.

He lived a long life full of surprise turns that could never have been predicted.

If I were to pick a trait of my father to highlight it would be his unassuming self-deprecation. He despised ostentatiousness, expected little for himself and quietly got on with his life in intense privacy. On the other hand he was generous and went over and above in his efforts to be scrupulously transparent and honest in his dealings with others.

May his memory be blessed.

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