Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prince Conger!

Domenic Cretara suggested that if I ever had the opportunity to study with Conger Metcalf, that I should.   Within a year of leaving The Art Institute I found myself exhibiting with Conger at Boston's Park Street Church.  I introduced myself, showed him my work and gave Domenic's recommendation.  Conger had a studio above a cleansers on Charles Street.  We would meet on Wednesday evenings during the weekly 'cocktail hour'.  I was placed at a window with a plaster cast of a head.  My instructions were to draw the symmetry of the face.  Several weeks passed this way, I drew at the window, Conger entertained.  On the final night of my lessons (4, 6?) he gave me a plaster cast of a face.  He told me to return when I could draw the symmetry of the face.

20 odd years later my daughter EB and I returned the cast to him.  "Are you here to see the Prince?"  and then "Prince Conger, your audience is here."  then to us, "go on, up the stairs to the top on the left.  we passed stacks and stacks of paintings and books.  His rooms...Venetian tapestries, gilded frames, Venetian Shutters nailed to the walls.  and Conger, "did you bring the pink Ginger Ale?".

I returned the mask to Conger and told him that while the face appears to be symmetrical, there is no real symmetry, the left and right sides are not alike.  "oh, really."  he laughed.  "you know, I gave all of these masks away.  this is the first to return."

He reviewed my work.  suggested I was having a lot of fun with my work and asked if I taught.  me, full of myself, suggested that "I haven't had to" and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, i knew the slap in the face to the generosity of my teachers.  as if whether i taught or not had anything to do with my needs (although teaching is incredibly fulfilling), in that moment the needs of a student entered my thoughts.  3 days later my first student entered my studio.

Conger's painting is up for auction through the Blackwood Auctions in Essex on April 28.  estimate $400-$600.  wish I could.

sleep on sweet Prince.

1 comment:

Kay said...

what a great story!