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Elizabeth Brunner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Tales around

27th September 1996...

about her very first painting

 

 

Friday 27th September 1996...

I went to take photographs of the paintings. Then I asked Elizabeth about another painting. A sweet little girl, the painting standing right in front of a pile facing the room. 

Elizabeth's very first painting

            Elizabeth got all excited and called, "this was my very first painting ever! There was a 'mela' (festival, fun fair) near Lake Balaton where we stayed and we all went to the 'mela'. Wondering around in the 'mela', I lost my family." Dagmar asked, "how old were you then?" Elizabeth, "seven or eight." 

 

And on the back her father's unfinished portrait

            I just could not believe it, the painting of the little girl was so utterly beautiful! Painted by Elizabeth when she  herself was but a little girl! And when asked to turn this painting over to the other side, there was the unfinished painting of a man by her father! 

            Elizabeth carried on, "you see the law in our house was that none of us was allowed to touch my father's brushes or paints or anything he was working with! There was great fun in the 'mela', the various carrousels were going on, the music was playing everywhere and the multitude was moving this side that side. So somehow I was pushed from my family group. And as I walked, I saw this little girl and I thought, I must paint her!

            So, I just grabbed this little girl's hand, completely unknown by me, and took her out of the 'mela' and went home. In a second I decided. Something forced me. There was an open covered space in front of our house (kind of a veranda) where my father used to paint. His newly started painting was on the easel. There were his palette, his brushes, and his colours. I, with firm feet, went and turned over the painting on the easel. I took his palette and his brush and started painting and I painted this little girl. With full authority. And I loved it!

            Now in between, and I didn't know about it because it happened in the 'mela', both the families were searching for their children. That family theirs, and my family me. And the town authorities were informed and the police people were searching every place. But nowhere the children could be found. And finally, at about seven thirty in the evening, broken, my father and my aunty and the others (I don't remember whether my mother was there or not), the family came home.

            And then my father noticed me, because when entering the house, the open covered place in front of the house had to be passed. And I became frozen and I did not know what he would do with me. His eyes were wild seeing his brush in my hand. And he walked to his easel and stood there and looked. While he was looking, his entire stature became limp, his arms fell down and he said, 'this was not done by a child!' That was his only remark," Elizabeth said.

            "After that he gave me a brush and colours ... You can see the back of the painting, that is the beginning of my father's painting." Dagmar could only breathe: "This little girl is incredible beautifully painted!"

            At the pile of paintings named 'Santiniketan' there leaned one of Elizabeth's self-portrait's, painted in Santiniketan in 1930. She could not remember the circumstances which made her paint it. It showed once again the incredible beauty of this lady in her youth!

Elizabeth in Shantiniketan in 1930

But Elizabeth went on with another snip about another self-portrait. This one was painted on the Shikine Island in Japan in 1935. "You see, my mother had one of those looking glasses or mirrors, I don't know what you call it. We just had had a bath. I was passing, and seeing myself in the glass. So I thought I must paint this. The result is that painting with my hair hanging around my face. I look so relaxed, don't you think?"

 

Elizabeth in Shikine in 1935

 

 
     

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Copyright Dagmar Barua 1997 Sass Brunner East West Trust, 75, Rabindra Nagar, New Delhi - 110 003