3/13/09

A TRIBUTE TO EXTRAORDINARY GEORGE

In the last weeks of my godfather George's life he told me he loved the actress Louise Brooks. He told me to learn about Maggie Lane's needlepoint kimonos and Anne Ryan collages. We talked about Cora Ginsburg and antique textiles, William Spratling and Alexander Calder jewelry, 17th & 18th century European paintings, Moghul drawings, Iranian jewelry, and Japanese prints. I read him articles from the New York Times. He asked me to tell him about my dog and he closed his eyes and smiled as he listened. I held Freesia up to his nose so he could smell its peppery sweetness. We held hands. We talked about blogs and blogging. We talked about how The Met glows in the evening. He gave me instructions for thank you notes. I got to know his nurses and aids. We looked through postcards of paintings and he thought the Dutch pastoral scene with the cows was "a bore." He was a consummate New Yorker but had also lived in Rome and Paris. When I attended art school in London he gave me a list of his friends to visit in Europe with priceless descriptions of each one. He began his career in the antiques department at Lord & Taylor, then as a silver buyer for Tiffany & Co. Later, he started the original museum gift shop at The Brooklyn Museum and then The Crafts of all Nations shops at The United Nations. He volunteered in the European Design & Decoration Library at The Met for eighteen years, with a few of them spent in the Costume department. He was a serious art collector. When I told him on Monday that I would be back at the end of the week he said "you better call first" with a smile. He died on Wednesday, March 11th after a spin around the hospice halls in a wheeling recliner. He was 88. I was lucky.

5 comments:

  1. Nice tribute and share about a special man, who was an interesting character. George will be missed by many.

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  2. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment.

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  3. Your tribute is so heartwarming. What a wonderful expression of your sentiments for your godfather. I'm sure you do count yourself lucky to have spent time with him before his passing. It is a reminder to us all to make the effort and time for those we hold close to us.

    Katrin

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  4. Thank you Katrin... I remember every minute I ever spent with him. He was extraordinary!! I miss him very much but I was lucky indeed, to have him in my life for many years. Best to you! Barbara

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  5. what a beautiful post.

    george was gifted to have you to write this for posterity.

    and yes, the Met does *glow* at twilight.

    magical.

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