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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Bad world

The first part of A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks is a painful reminder that tragic pasts often create bars that circumscribe lives. As a child, my father took my sister and me to my grandmother’s one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn which she shared with her youngest son. I tried not to stare at my uncle as he shook back and forth, listening delightedly, and sometimes frustratedly, to his radio. He heard almost every Mets game on that radio, I think. Born in Leipzig, Germany, when just a baby, my uncle, as part of the kinder-transport to rescue Jewish children, was put on a train to England. There, he lived with a family who fell in love with him, and he with them. Years later, he was taken from this family, the only one he remembered, and brought to the United States to be reunited with his biological family. It was told to me that he never quite got over this, and spent most of his adult life as I remembered him during those visits to Brooklyn. I have begun this portrait of my Uncle Simon from photos and from memory:

Uncle Simon




Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière.

Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière includes the photographs of women in various stages of hysteria, including after such episodes. Julie Mellby’s blog discusses the photographs. I first read about this volume in Medical Muses by Asti Hustvedt. I photographed the images from the copy at Princeton University months ago, but only now feel the need to create paintings from them. This is my first attempt, and I chose this woman’s face because of the pleading look in her eyes.

Patient from La Salpetriere, circa 1876-1877