Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Art of Art - Lesson Three - A Passion for Life

I met Bernard Pfriem while attending Lacoste school of the Arts in France, while the man was still alive. He was remarkable. I knew him near the end of his life, but he had such an amazing passion for life.

Bernard started Lacoste School of the Arts in Lacoste, France. I understand that he purchased the Boulengerie (bakery) in 1958, where my very good friend Hank stayed while we were there, for the cost of one refrigerator. The School itself was a collection of buildings and an old limestone quarry.

Bernard was just 80, and had recently suffered several severe strokes. He had a soft spot in his head where a piece of skull was removed, and he spoked in a muffled tone from his half paralyzed mouth. He dragged his one foot a bit and had an awkward gait, but when we went on field trips to Aix or Arle, Bernard was always ahead of us somehow. He went on every field trip and moved faster than the youngest of students.

He was engrossed in life and engrossing to listen too. There were weekly lectures in his courtyard and some of the students stayed and talked with him till all hours of the night.
Bernard had lived a wonderfully full and active life and continued to do his art and oversee many aspects of his school until he passed away in 1996.

I will never forget trying to keep up with him as he breezed his way up the steep mountainside to our rooms in Lacoste. His passion for life, people and Art, brought him through even the most adverse conditions, and he lived his life with complete passion and joy.

Bernard's good friends were people like Henry Miller, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Gustaf Sobin as well as his many students

Bernard's passion for life has inspired me to think that there are no limits to what you can achieve in life. Age or disability can't stop the forward motion of an unstoppable force. There is something about the spark in certain people, the joy they see in every day life. There is something about joy, and a passion for art and living, that seems to make one as close to immortal as any human can get.


Pili said...

Such an inspiring story! We all need to be reminded that the only force we need to reckon with is our own if we want to get to something!

Jane said...

Beautiful and inspiring - and so eloquently told.

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