Friday 27th September 1996
was in her usual sweet mood this afternoon and visibly happy
that we could be together for a little while. A lovely young
lady, Ms. Monika Bincsik, had come from Hungary. She was to
help Elizabeth to select the paintings for the big Hungarian
festival 'Budapest Spring Festival of Arts'. Her own
paintings as well as her mother's. I could see many
paintings standing in the room, orderly placed in piles of
paintings 'from Santiniketan', 'from Japan', 'from Hungary',
'from other places in India' etc.
with Monika Bincsik
asked Dagmar to pick up one painting her mother had painted.
"Your mother's painting, called 'A Room With
Furniture', painted in 1914," Dagmar read out from the
back of the painting, "and you were four years
old." "Yes," replied Elizabeth, "you
see, they gave us this room always when we stayed with
grandfather in his house in Nagykanizsa. Two bed rooms, one
of them the one in the painting. You can see the metal
folding bed which my parents used to fold up and take with
them to Munich, remember?" Dagmar remembered. Elizabeth
carried on, "the sofa-chairs are from my mothers aunt.
And my bed was on the right hand side of their bed, you
cannot see it."
sofa-chairs are from my mothers aunt. And my bed was on
the right hand side, you cannot see it'...
landscape on the back of the very same painting
Dagmar asked, "Elizabeth, you mentioned before
that this was the time when your mother had already those
terrible headaches?" Elizabeth said, "yes! Usually
by eleven o'clock in the morning she had to have a rest.
So in the house everybody was busy somehow, nobody
attending to me. So I went into the bedroom and I saw my
mother sleeping. But my hands didn't reach her on the bed to
wake her up (I was too small). So I went to the fire-place,
there in front of it where some fire-irons. I got hold of
one of the tongs. I went back to the bed and on my toes I
reached mother and knocked her on the head with that thing.
Poor mother, she woke up with a start and was surprised
about her little daughter ..." And Dagmar mused, "
... and here and now I can see the surroundings of your
childhood in the painting."
"You see, in this painting there are so many
things," Elizabeth carried on. "but I have
forgotten the names of the painters of the paintings on the
wall. You see, my father and his friends, same age artists,
they always used to exchange each others paintings. So all
those paintings are from various people. And on the table
there is a sculpture of a monkey. By Imre Simay, the famous
artist. The Austrian monarch purchased his monkey. Simay
became very famous. By the way, they often painted on both
sides of the canvas, (I suppose because of shortage of
money). Turn the painting over please." And Dagmar saw
to her surprise another painting of trees on the other side.
Elizabeth carried on, "Simay was the Director of
the Graphics Department of the 'Iparmüveszeti Föiskola'
(School of Applied Arts), one of the best schools for art in
Budapest. A friend of the family. Nagykanizsa was his
birthplace also, and once a year he would come and spend a
month or two there. Then they would sit evenings together. I
would be in a corner ... and talk ... to my brother in
heaven ... and then they would ask me what was his name. I
did not know ... Imre Simay remained a friend even when I
came to Budapest to study and he helped me.
Now the house is broken down in Nagykanizsa."
gently asked, "your grandfather's house is no
more?" Elizabeth confirmed, "the house and the
whole area was broken down to make room for a new
Dagmar asked, "and who is the lady in
nude?" Elizabeth answered, "my mother, painted by