Monday, 31 December 2012

Two Paintings

This, post # 401, is my last blog post for 2012. I did not do a Fashion Calendar post for December, but I guess you can all live with that :-)
Maybe I'll do one in January, to show you what I will be wearing later tonight when RJ and I will be joining my parents and my sister for a glass of champagne to welcome 2013 in style. But for now, let me show you these two beautiful paintings:


They were done by my great-grandfather. He died when my Mum was still a little girl, so I had no chance of ever meeting him. He came originally from Silesia and settled in what eventually became our family's hometown, Ludwigsburg. I don't know neither what year he came here, nor what was the actual reason for the move, but I know what he did once he arrived: he worked as a porcelain painter at Ludwigsburg's own bone china manufactory. The manufactory is still working, still selling, still training artists, and my great-grandfather was one of them.
His art was, as you can see, not limited to working on china; he painted on canvas, on cardboard, on wood - whatever was available to him. If I remember correctly, my Mum once told me that sometimes he would pay for goods or services with a painting instead of money, so I assume there are several houses in Ludwigsburg where one can find a painting by my great-grandfather.

These two paintings were, as long as I can remember (and much longer than that), in my grandparents' house. They were beautifully displayed in a wall niche in the living room, and I've always known and loved them. Can't you smell the scent of the peaches in the one painting, and the roses in the other? Don't you want to pick one of the grapes and let its sweet juice tickle your mouth as you eat it?


When our grandmother died in January of 2001 and it was decided that my Mum and her brother would be selling the house, emptying it was a monumental task, which took our family almost a year. Among many other things (such as the furniture that is now in my living room - as you can see here -, or the cream china with the gold rim I eat off every day), the two paintings were given to me.
I was very happy to have them, and they were on the wall in our Third Room until my late husband decided to redecorate the flat in October 2009. He washed the last paint off his paint brushes on the morning of the day of his death. I never put the pictures back up, and they remained in the cellar where he had stored them before redecorating.

Last week, our relatives from France came visiting - I mentioned that in my previous post. My cousins spent many a summer holiday at our grandparents' house when they were children, and they, too, have fond memories of the place. Only now, during this visit, I learnt from my cousin that he and his siblings had not known about the sale of the house and distribution of its contents - their father had, sadly, not told them anything. Therefore, neither of my cousins received any tangible memory after our grandmother died. This touched me very much, and I instantly thought of those paintings.
When we were back at my place an hour or so later, I offered them to my cousins. At first, they did not want to take them, although I could tell they loved them; they ended up taking the paintings when they came to say good-bye the next day. My cousin said he already knows exactly where they will go at their house, and he has promised to send me a picture.

I feel better for having done this; the paintings still remain in the family, and I already have so much from my grandparents, and they had nothing.

The last picture shows the full moon, seen from my kitchen window on Saturday night.
Happy New Year to everyone!

24 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to you, that was so sweet of you to give those paintings to your cousins. They had to mean a lot to you and they are absolutely gorgeous. Does your mother have any china that he painted?

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    1. Thank you, Dorothy, and the same to you!
      No, as far as I know, my Mum does not have any china painted by her grandfather. She has several of his paintings, though.

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  2. What a lovely act to end your year and start your cousins'.

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    1. I do hope my cousins keep their promise and send a picture of where they put the paintings.

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  3. What a kind gesture. I'm sure your cousins will love and cherish the paintings.

    And a very happy new year to you, too, Meike1 xoxo Carol

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    1. It felt the right thing to do, Carol.

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  4. Happy New Year, and may you be blessed.

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  5. How talented your grandfather was and how thought you were to give your paintings away. Happy 2013 to you and your loved ones!

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    1. He was my great-grandfather, Mary; I never knew him. Happy 2013 to you and yours, too!

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  6. It' s nice to have some tangible objects like that from earlier generations and yet one does not want one's own home to be all a museum... At least that's how I feel - still in the process of emptying my own parents' home before selling. Decisions, decisions! Sometimes just good to know things end up with someone who will appreciate them. :-)

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    1. Yes, I don't want to live in a museum, either. Too many things on surfaces and walls make me all itchy and aggressive - I like my empty walls and (mostly) clutter-free place :-)
      From your blog I know a bit of what is involved in emptying your parents' house; I can imagine it is not easy.

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  7. Happy New Year Meike!
    I recognised right away that feeling of not being able to clear up after someone has died. I think giving the pictures away was a good way of helping you move on too.
    Best wishes

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too!
      Well, it just seemed a shame to leave those paintings in the cellar - they had already been there for 3 years, and I don't know whether I would have put them up again at some stage; and seeing that my cousins never had the chance to have anything from the house, it was logical that they should take the paintings.

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  8. Happy New Year, Meike, to you and all your family. What a good thing you have done, giving your grandfather's paintings, even though you loved them, to your cousins who had no heirlooms from him. I am sure they will be a great treasure to their family (your grandfather was a very skilled artists!) and that the giving will also bless you in many ways.

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    1. Thank you, Kristi! He was, by the way, not my grandfather, but my great-grandfather. He lived in that house with his wife, two sons and his daughter-in-law (my grandmother) and died during my Mum's childhood, so I never met him.

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  9. What a great story, Meike! Those are beautiful paintings - your great-grandfather was clearly a very talented artist! And how sweet of you to give them to your cousin so they, too, have some family treasures!

    Happy New Year to you and your family! Hugs, Silke

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    1. Happy New Year to you and yours, too, Silke!
      Maybe I'll take photos of the other paintings my great-grandfather did and which are at my parents' place, and show them on here, too. I think they are beautiful!

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  10. They really are beautiful paintings, and what a lovely gesture to give them away within the family. Happy New Year to you and yours Meike.

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    1. Thank you, Maggie, and the same to you and your loved ones!

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  11. So, your great grandfather was an artist! I love to watch Antiques Roadshow and I love how excited the announcers get when they get a really nice piece of painted porcelain. And your great grandfather is one of those artists!
    I love that you gave his artwork to your cousins. You still have the photo of them to look at here on your blog!
    And I just read your comment to Silke, yes, please take more photos and show us!
    I would love to see more. :-)

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    1. I am definitely going to show some more of my great grandfather's work on here. In my opinion, his paintings are well worth looking at.

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  12. oh, yes, please show us more of your great-grandfather's art work! gifting the paintings to your cousins was the best kind because you love those pieces of art. may you and your family have a blessed new year, Meike!

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    1. Thank you, Norma - and the same to you!

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