The above landscape is a favourite. The composition is masterful and so is the choice of colours and a remembrance of pointillism.
Today must be devoted to domestic affairs. Besides, I’m still sorting out files, throwing many documents away. They have lost their relevance. I wish to thank all of you for allowing me to visit your magnificent posts at a slower pace and to publish much less frequently.
The Vancouver Bloch-Bauer Family
This post contains more information on my friends and the Vancouver branch of the Bloch-Bauer family. I have edited my post to show that the Mr. Bloch-Bauer I met was Karl (Charles) David Bloch-Bauer. The gentleman I knew as Mr. Bloch-Bauer died of leukemia in 1968. In 1968, I was a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. The last time I saw Mr. Bloch-Bauer, my husband and I were entering a movie-house with two friends. Mr. Bloch-Bauer looked extremely ill and died in 1968. Members of the Vancouver Bloch-Bauer family were and are in the forest industry (Canfor), but Francis was a scientist, married to the exquisite Hélène, and Nelly is Dr. Nelly Auersperg.
I looked at my wedding book and found a card signed by the Gutmanns, wishing us the best. From the photographs I can identify no more than a handful of friends. After our honeymoon, at Wikaninnish Inn – the highway had not been built, David and I settled on Point Grey Road. The Ocean was at our feet and we had a marvellous view of English Bay. Those days are gone.
My story is accurate, but it is of a different flavor than versions told by the press. Adele Bloch-Bauer was my friends’ great-aunt, but the Gutmanns did not try to retrieve Gustav Klimt’s portraits and other paintings and sketches the family owned. What I remember is that the Nazis pillaged their Vienna home; that their father was executed by the Red Army; that Francis and his sister were / are scientists, that Baron Viktor Gutmann asked his wife to marry Josep Beppo Gattin and to erase all traces of their Jewish ancestry and that John Auersperg, a Prince, taught me the Viennese Waltz.
I am of course delighted that, after six decades, paintings and sketches that belonged to the Bloch-Bauer family were returned to their owners. Francis and Hélène’s children will live more comfortably. However, I cannot edit my memories fully. I can’t help thinking that it must have been horrible for Baron Viktor Gutmann to face an unjust death not knowing what would happen to his family. He was first and foremost a husband and a father.
To my knowledge, Francis and Nelly had been sent to Palestine, but in 1946, they were in today’s Croatia and Nelly was entering medical school. The Bloch-Bauers were in Vancouver before the World War II, but Baron Viktor Gutmann had returned to his homeland, Croatia. They immigrated in c. 1950.
I was told that Baroness Gutmann barely escaped internment and probable death in a concentration camp. A Nazi officer pulled her away from other detainees. If this is true, which I believe it is, was the officer punished? The German people suffered under the Nazi régime, and, when the war ended, Germany was split and a wall was built to divide Berlin. The Cold War had begun.
Actor Adrien Brody is still haunted by memories of the 2002 film The Pianist. Mr. Brody played the role of Polish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman whose life was saved by Nazi officer Wilm Hosenfeld. Wilm Hosenfeld was imprisoned by the Red Army and died in captivity in 1952.
Art endures, but can it redeem man’s inhumanity to man?
C’était un temps déraisonnable,
On avait mis les morts à table.
My love to everyone ♥
Yves Montand chante « Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent ? » (Louis Aragon)
© Micheline Walker
18/19 November 2017