Paloma Varga Weisz
My father was Hungarian, and he was an artist. And he was born in 1906. So, maybe this is an important detail to know, that he was quite old when I was born. So, he was in his early 60s already. So, I grew up with parents that had a big age difference. And my father then came from Hungary, very early in the 20s, to Paris, to study art. And there he also worked as a cartoonist, in a magazine called “Monde”, and because of this link, and as well as his Jewish background, when the Nazis came to Paris, he had to leave the city, and he moved, via Lyon, to the south of France, where he continued his career as an artist.1 And he was quite early involved in the very lively art scene in the Cote D’Azur, where he was in the friendship with Picasso, and Jean Cocteau, and Matisse, and Andre Verdet, and Prevert, and all these kind of people who were becoming the heroes of this period.
And he also worked together with Jean Cocteau in a book, where he made the prints, the paintings, and Cocteau wrote poems. So, this became a very beautiful limited edition, with this book. And so, he became an abstract painter. And in the early 50s, he met my mother, and moved then in the late 50s to Germany. And so, he had a very difficult step that he made from this background, going then in a country, in a little village, in a winery area, where he’d become extremely isolated. And so, the biggest audience for him suddenly became his children. So, he had his — his difficulty with the German surrounding, and also the very bourgeois setting he suddenly went into, became a father of three children, and his whole career had a kind of break from all these movements.
And so, he continued working. But his abstract painting became more and more, how I say, organic, and different materials were put on the surface as well, like hairs, or very bizarre textures. So, I was surrounded, as a young child, with all these paintings. And maybe it’s in the nature of a child that you always try to understand what is — to see a face or — to try to see something that you know, like an image of an animal or — yeah, and that’s how I reacted as a child to these images. And my children’s — my room was packed with these huge paintings, and only my little posters were around these big abstract paintings, because I was not allowed to put them away, because he somehow didn’t have an exhibition, so the whole house was a huge exhibition of his paintings.