These last few months since Georg left (yes MONTHS), I have had the distinct feeling that he is watching over me and my sister. He has given me the job of organizing his artwork and his estate. It is has been overwhelming at times, enough to make me cry just thinking about it. But, I have also made many wonderful discoveries as I mine this body of work that he produced over a span of 60 years. In addition, he has sent some very kind and knowledgeable people to help me inventory, protect, understand, and photograph the work. I thank him for that.
Meanwhile, he has given Illia the job of getting up every day and being an art teacher to young children, first and second graders, helping them to recognize the creative spark within. I love to see the interesting projects she has her kids at the Lab School in Chicago undertake. The school just built a fabulous new building for the lower grades and Illia’s new classroom looks onto the park and one side of the Museum of Science and Industry. How cool and inspiring is that?
Recently she had her students exploring the three orders of Greek columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The kids worked in pairs and every team picked a style and made a column (on a large sheet of paper). They filled the walls and windows of the rather sterile concrete lobby area outside the art room with their columnar creations. Each team did a wonderful and meticulous job of representing their chosen order. The many Corinthian interpretations were spectacular and complex. The simpler Doric and Ionic orders were executed time and again with precision and grace.
The space outside the art room looks like a Greek temple. It is a gorgeous and arresting sight. Georg would be proud.
People that knew him always said that one of Georg’s great strengths was his ability to recognize the creative spark within each person and reflect it back to them in a way that they could own it. I know this was true, I saw it happen and I read about it in letters and emails from his many students, protegés and friends.
As I go through his stacks and stacks of art work, I can feel how much fun he had just making it all. Even when he explored darker themes, there is some kind of light that shines through the work. The process of creating visual images delighted him and it kept him doing what he did even when times were tough and no one was buying art much. He did what he had to do. It was not always a cake walk, and it was not always easy to convince others of the value. But, the work exists and I have a feeling it is going to stand up to the test of time. I’m sorry he will not be here to witness this, but perhaps this is just how it works. I don’t know. The art will continue to inspire viewers, and Illia and I (and Kaleb, Ella, and Owen) will be here to witness this for him.
The art Georg left behind really is the living energy of Georg-ness, even though he is gone. I know he is watching over me and Illia both, making sure we focus on what matters to us, making sure we build our temples well.