Pictures of Fidelman
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This is the story in art of the painter Arthur Fidelman, born in the Bronx and spending years of his life in Italy--Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice--pursuing his tumultuous career through adventure and misadventure. What perhaps saved him from disaster (Fidelman is a comic hero whose every next step is a trap sprung by bad luck as though his luck were good) is that he kept his finger in art, perhaps without knowing it seeking "perfection of the life" as well as the work. Six pictures of Fidelman comprise an exhibition.
Bessie. He planned, if he had any funds left at the end of the year, to buy a new one in Florence. Although he had been in not much of a mood when he had left the U.S.A., Fidelman picked up in Naples, and at the moment, as he stood in front of the Rome railroad station, after twenty minutes still absorbed in his first sight of the Eternal City, he was conscious of a certain exaltation that devolved on him after he had discovered directly across the many-vehicled piazza the remains of the Baths of
have no suit for you, Susskind. The one I presently have hanging in the closet is a little more than a year old and I can’t afford to give it away. Besides, it’s gabardine, more like a summer suit.” “On me it will be for all seasons.” After a moment’s reflection, Fidelman drew out his billfold and counted four single dollars. These he handed to Susskind. “Buy yourself a warm sweater.” Susskind also counted the money, bill for bill. “If four,” he said, “then why not five?” Fidelman flushed.
Cé-zanne. The impact of an acute angle of a triangle on a circle promises an effect no less powerful than the finger of God touching the finger of Adam in Michelangelo. Kandinsky. Fidelman, etcher, left a single engraving of the series called A Painter’s Progress. Originally there were six copper plates, drypoint, all with their prints destroyed, how or why is not known. Only a single imperfect artist’s proof entitled “The Cave” survives. This etching represents a painter at work, resemblance to
spring came early that year: to his surprise flowers looking out of house windows. Young jewel-like leaves of myrtles and laurels rose above ancient brick walls in back alleys. Subtle pinks, apricots, lavenders streaked an underwater architecture of floating Gothic and Moorish palazzi. Mosaics glittered, golden and black, on the faces of churches. Sandali sailed under bridges, heaped high with eggplants, green peppers, mounds of string beans. The canals widened, golden light on green water, pure
don’t hurry.” “A fanatic never knows when to stop. It’s obvious you want to repeat your fate.” “What fate do you have in mind?” “Yours.” The apprentice sighed but hurried. For months he tried everything he saw others doing: cut glass in diamond patterns, carved glass as gems, practiced diamond point and acid engraving, flash painting with stains, gold and silver leaf applied in reverse: gods and goddesses in classic poses pretending left is right. In the spring he hungered to be involved with