‘Miller was inspired by ’60s op-art artists, primarily Wojciech Fangor, but also Bridget Riley, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and Victor Vasarely.’

Fashion designer Nicole Miller finds UD‘s friend Wojciech Fangor inspiring. UD‘s Fangor posts are here.

Yesterday would have been Wojciech Fangor’s 97th Birthday.

An old friend of the Soltan family, he was a significant but not immensely significant artist until his last decade, when Les UDs began to panic as their six Fangor paintings became so valuable we had to make a decision: Handle and secure them properly or sell most of them. We kept this one

‘From an art historical angle, the black hole resembles something modernist, like a Color-field painting or a piece of Op art. The work of Wojciech Fangor comes to mind; his blurry dichromatic creations from the sixties are similarly circular, mysterious, and disconcerting.’

Les UDs have been selling, via Bonham’s, a number of just these Fangor paintings from the ‘sixties. The next sale of one of their Fangors is on May 16 in New York City.

Watch as images of two of the Soltan Fangors appear.

Our other two will be featured in Bonham’s New York auction this November.

Need more information before you buy? Scroll down to page 105.

From Joanna Soltan’s Collection of Wojciech Fangor’s Art…

this painting is now on sale.


That was quick. Sold.

Red Meat for the Fourth.
For complex reasons, this July 4 Les UDs were gifted with a home delivery of filets mignons and hamburger steaks. Their neighbors, the Trockis (Tammy, an excellent photographer, took pictures of our Fangors), will cook the meat, and we’ll all gather at their place for a holiday blowout.

Jerzy Soltan’s Book about Working with LeCorbusier is Now Out, in Polish.

UD’s father in law spent four years in Corbu’s atelier just after WW2 – and I mean just after, as in he pretty much traveled directly from Murnau POW camp (where he spent the whole war, having been captured by the Germans early in the conflict) to the Paris studio. UD worked with Jerzy, who wrote the original manuscript in English, on his written English (English was his third or fourth language) in the main essay, which you can find here. (You can find a mistake-free version of the essay in this book.)

One of my happiest memories is sitting on the porch overlooking a pond at Wojciech Fangor’s house one summer, going back and forth with Jerzy, paragraph by paragraph. He had a big broad excitable style with major use of dashes, dot-dot-dots, and exclamation marks; he took all of my editing suggestions in good humor.

Here’s Jerzy’s acknowledgement of our work together.

And here’s his just-released writing about Corbu, translated into Polish:

He was dashing, wasn’t he?
The sign for the wall of our new library arrives.
Wouldn’t have been possible without him.
And Two Rivers Run Through It.
Morning, Ledge House, Harpers Ferry West Virginia.

Worked. Like a charm. The 6:03 from Union Station stopped and took me from Garrett Park to Harpers Ferry, just as it said it would.

The tricky part was finding Ledge House. UD, on foot and alone, with night approaching, and in a mountain town where most streets are steep inclines, made every mistake possible and then some. She chatted with half the town in her effort to find the place.

Everyone – including the man who took me to a steep crumbly poison ivy ridden path he swore would get me there (I didn’t take the path) – was very friendly. And of course GPS was trying to help me too. Every wrong route I tried opened up onto gobsmacking views of rushing rivers, bridges, rock cliffs, green hills, and clear evening skies with an almost full moon.

Eventually, her ancient heart pounding, UD got to Henry Clay Street, where the GPS lady assured her she had reached her destination.

The house – way the hell up some cruddy steps – looked wrong. UD had no choice but to trudge the cruddy steps.

While resting halfway, she checked her email, which included congratulations from Amy at Bonhams – at yesterday’s New York auction, our latest Fangor sold for over a hundred thousand dollars.

Naturally this news gave me a second wind and I finished the course like a Marine recruit.

Where was I? This was a private house, with a big For Sale sign in front of it. GPS had stopped me too soon and sent me up the wrong street. Now – eyeing the cemetery that was the only other game in town – I had to go all the way back down to Henry Clay.

Where, glowing with charm and a Southern garden in dusky shadows, stood Ledge House.

Time to make your bid…

… for one of the Soltans’ Fangors. Bonham’s auction, May 15, New York City. (Scroll down to Lot 7 here.)

Details when you enlarge the image.
The Soltans are Taking Over the New York Times Lately.

Look at this picture.

Mr UD stands just behind and to the right of the RESPECT EXISTENCE sign.

UD was featured in her friend Barney Carroll’s obituary. And in her friend Wojciech Fangor’s obituary.

La Kid? She was featured, with her chorus, in a NYT image from one of Obama’s inaugural concerts. We ordered that one; it hangs in her bedroom.

Red circle, blue background.

Click through the artworks here to see one of our Fangors, for sale next month at the New York Bonhams auction.

Faithful readers know of UD’s annual, not terribly successful, perseids outings.

She’s got a little house in nowheresville upstate New York, no lights anywhere, a true dark sky, and she has sat in its front meadow many a chilly August night over the years, looking up at the enormous firmament. (Actually, news flash: UD‘s country house has suddenly gone from a nowheresville location to a destination location! Look what’s moved down the lane. That pond you see if you check out the photos on the website was the work of UD‘s old friend, Wojciech Fangor and… well, you can put Fangor in my search engine if you want that story…) But for all her effort, she’s never experienced a true meteor shower – just occasional shooting stars in the course of a few hours.

This year, Les UDs are going to Shenandoah National Park – two hours from ‘thesda – because it’s apparently the best place for hundreds of miles around to see the perseid meteor shower.

There will be a Night Sky Festival at the park while we’re there. So even if UD is again disappointed this year, she will at least be surrounded by experts telling her precisely what’s up there and why.

Obviously, she will extensively blog this experience.

Results: Yesterday’s London Auction of Two of Our …


UD and Sportaldislexicartaphobia : Part One.

UD does not suffer from generalized fear of paintings, only fear of several paintings that, until last week, hung in her own wee ‘thesdan house. She acquired them in 2005, on the death of her father-in-law, Jerzy Soltan, who had himself acquired them in the form of gifts from his old friend Wojciech Fangor.

By virtue of being Poles who lived through most of the twentieth century, Soltan and Fangor got served up absurd, atrocious, obscene, ridiculous sorts of early lives – picaresque farces where they were always leaping about trying to survive the latest global disaster. It’s a bit of luck that either man survived to mid-century, and even more amazing that both eventually returned to the very privileged lives into which they were born.

The early ‘seventies saw Soltan a Harvard professor and Fangor the subject of a one-man show at the Guggenheim.


Yet not much happened for Fangor after that show; he remained obscure, and during the subsequent years I knew him in upstate New York, was simply one more struggling artist, working hard in his studio, getting occasional teaching/lecturing gigs, trying to sell canvases.


So when Les UDs sat on the floor of Jerzy’s Cambridge studio sifting through his art collection and dividing things up with Mr UD’s sister, they treated the Fangors the way they treated all of the other mildly significant artworks Jerzy, who knew many Polish artists, had gathered. Mr UD put one of Fangor’s circles on his office wall at the University of Maryland, and the other circles went in La Kid’s room.


When did UD start idly checking the prices of Fangor’s circles online? Aucune idée. But it gradually occurred to me that the numbers were going up and up and up, and that articles about his hotness were proliferating. “Take that Fangor off your office wall and bring it home!” UD screeched at Mr UD one day. “And while we’re on the subject, we need to put all of these behind glass and insure them or something…”

Les UDs both became more and more uneasy as they realized they were holding onto, and not taking particularly good care of, paintings that had suddenly become insanely valuable. It was time to sell.

UD sent exploratory emails to Sothebys, Christies, and Bonhams. The first two sent polite form letters asking to see some pictures of her Fangors. A Fangor specialist from Bonhams almost immediately got on a train from New York City to DC and visited our pictures. She spent hours in the house, scrutinizing, taking notes, taking pictures, chatting to me about Fangor and the paintings, and of course offering us a contract.


More to come.


Photos Tamara Trocki.

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