02 December 2013

Hanukah Day Four: Saul Leiter, z'l

I was sad to see that Saul Leiter died this past week, a diminishment of light in this festival of Hanukah.  Leiter's exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2006/7 was one of the great, small, unsung art shows of the last ten years.  

We walked through with Mom back then, just a small time after her triumphant scrum with radiation for a small node in one of her breasts.  In fact, we marked a fair bit of time over those seven years of cancer with semi-annual trips to the museum.  

An example of art's power to heal.  Especially for those who live unsung lives.  Leiter never achieved the stature his talent deserved, and that suited him just fine, as the Times obit described him saying in 2008, "One has to be ambitious. I much prefer to drink coffee, listen to music and to paint when I feel like it."

"Seeing is a neglected enterprise," he also famously said.  The power of simple observation, sharpened with practice.  The images that then settle into the mind can change things.
One imagines Mark Rothko painting this photograph.  His vision was extraordinary.


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