Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Grandma Moses? - It's Never Too Late!

When one thinks of an artist who worked well into old age, Grandma Moses is well remembered. I believe that she died in her 101st year. and was active as she approached that magic century mark.
Not far from where I live, a furrier began painting after his retirement, and became very well known for his delightful work; so well known that his works were seen in many art studios and other centers of art in and around Boston. I suppose one, upon enacting some research, could very well come across examples of his work. He was recognized by many experts for his delightful paintings of flowers, as well as many beautiful homes and well-known buildings, such as some at Harvard University; and the soft, truly benign sense attached to his subjects was really quite unique. I believe that there is a Gideon Cohen (his name) award given out periodically.
Cohen was not only an artist of ability, but equally interesting as one who, however quietly and diffidently, marched to the beat of his own drum.
He did not own a car, but walked really incredible distances to reach whatever artistic subject he chose to bring to life. When I taught at one of the music colleges, my studio had large windows that faced a busy street, and I cannot tell you the number of times that I saw this lean little man, straight as a rail, in his eighties, walking to a destination, or from one, with a painting under his arm - his home was some miles away. Many times he would appear at my door, asking for my wife, who is an artist, so that they could share in some aspect of art. He sometimes brought his latest painting with him, so that it could be the center of a conversation.
Imagine a man, around eighty five, clambering onto a ladder, going up two stories, in order to paint his modest little home - yes, he also painted that way as well, when the necessity arrived.
He, like his art, was the embodiment of friendliness and gentleness.
And his quiet voice, with not a trace of declamation, still comes back to the memory.
His kind are few in number, it seems...

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