Sunday, March 25, 2012

Charles Biederman ( Part 2)

Biederman's Later Work
After that I did not see Charles for many years. It wasn’t until I decided to write my master’s thesis about him that I went back to Minnesota to see him. By this time he was getting quite blind but still feisty. I had brought him a box of cigars, which I had taken some time to research his favorite brand. When I proudly presented him with his gift he asked me what it was and I told them they were his favorite brand of cigars. I was totally deflated when he told me he wasn’t allowed to smoke anymore. I made a comment about it probably being better for his health to which he responded that it had nothing to do with his health but with his blindness they were worried he would burn the place down. He then told me that against his doctors orders he still liked to have an occasional nip though. I wish I could remember his drink of choice. On this visit he dug deep into the past and brought out some of his earliest works. It was without a doubt one of the highlights of my life. Only once did I offend him when I mentioned the new sculptures he had all over his yard since my last visit. I said I was surprised that they were raw stainless steel in contrast to his early writings where he insisted that sculpture should be painted. He said they were exactly the way they were supposed to be, end of subject. That was my last visit with Charles. I took the time to walk up the path to where he used sit almost every day and observe nature. I corresponded with him for a time after that although by then somebody else had to read and write for him. His thank you letter to me after reading my final paper will always be one of my prized possessions. I was saddened to hear of his passing in the paper while visiting the twin cities. I have always wondered if Charles would have had a more compromising personality he would have taken his place in history with his cohorts, Mondrian and Leger. 

Early Sculpture model

Another Sculpture

Yet another

Late Stainless Sculptures

Path up to Biederman's sitting spot in nature.

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