Last week, during our family Thanksgiving celebration, a friend in Germany emailed me some surprising news. He’d been involved in my painting years there and wanted to alert me. An old 1981 exhibition catalog from a group art show called “American Artists in Berlin” (Amerikanische Künstler in Berlin) was being auctioned on eBay. That show had featured 6 young American artists then living in Berlin, including Lynn Bowers, Jimmy Clark, Gary Rieveschl, John Schuetz, Christina Viera, and me. In the eBay bidding window was a two-page spread from the catalog, showing Jimmy Clark’s pottery and one of my paintings (both a bit cut off).
Since my painting career preceded the internet access we so enjoy now, you’ll realize what an unexpected glimpse this was to see a work of mine online from almost 30 years ago. My large paintings were very colorful, as were the works of the other artists included in the show. But the exhibition catalog, funded by the Amerika Haus in Berlin, was printed in black and white, an indicator of the expense of mounting shows before artists could help their own publicity using home printers and a free and expansive internet. The critical reviews were printed in both German and English, adding another expense.
I didn’t bid on the catalog, but I should have. Although my own copy resides somewhere in my archives (I hope), my youngest son wishes he had known in time to buy this one. Although he had grown up in my peripatetic studio, nevertheless he had missed those early years of my career. Already it’s hard to remember which of my paintings were in that Berlin show. The large painting shown on eBay was “Femme Nue.” I think there was a huge painting called “Berlin Boogie.” Another painting, “The Odd Couple,” was purchased by the State Department. I hope my records show who bought the rest. I do remember how young I felt then, exhibiting next to Lynn who also had his New York studio, Gary who made vast Lifeforms following his Harvard/MIT studies, and Christina who was probably at RISD when I was there but had already exhibited in Greece, Great Britain, and Italy, while I, as a military wife, simply moved often. 🙂