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I met this guy, Antonio Tapies, in the Spanish Pyrenees, when I was, what, fifteen? My parents had arranged a summer for me in Barcelona, the Pyrenees, and Ibiza, with the family of a Catalan colleague of his. The family lived in all three places.

These people had been very close to Joan Miro, and on a wall near their Barcelona apartment’s dining room table was one of his canvases, squiggly black objects against a lot of emptiness.

Tapies came for an evening visit to their Pyrenees farm (their acres of strawberries were gathered by villagers and then put into pies for us). I remember thinking it odd or pretentious or whatever that he wore sunglasses all evening, sitting on the dark patio and talking softly. I remember being told by the family what an honor it was to meet this eminent man, but his name meant nothing to me.


And as long as I’m writing about Artists I Have Known:

An exhibition [at the National Museum in Krakow] of the works of Wojciech Fangor is bound to strike a chord with a multitude of devotees. Set to run from 12.10.2012 to 6.01 2013 in the Main Building, the concept of the show is tightly linked to the artist’s biography. 2012 sees Fangor’s 90th birthday. The first of his pieces to command attention in studies of his work was created at the easel whilst he was a pupil of Tadeusz Pruszkowski. He was fifteen years old at the time and the exhibition will thus also celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the working life of one of Poland’s most significant 20th century artists.

UD knew Fangor when he lived next door to her little upstate New York house. His house was big, with a big studio in which hung big unfinished canvases. A substantial man with a booming voice and enormous hands, he spent a lot of time, those summers (we only go there in the summer; he and his wife lived there all year), chopping wood for the winter. He loved his many cats, all of them strays. He built himself an observatory, in which we’d gather to gaze at the amazing sky. In the evenings, he and Magda curled up on their big country bed and laughed at American television shows.

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