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Saturday, July 21, 2007

An amazing story ...

An amazing story … Came home to the answer machine light blinking. It was message
from a guy in Seattle, Washington, named Roger Ligrano. Said he had come by 19
or 20 paintings by a David Grossblatt. And that he had looked him up on the internet
and found my website on the Café Rienzi, and could I please call him back, as
they were very eager to find out the background of these paintings. When I called,
Roger Ligrano, as it turns out, is also an artist. He has exhibited with Dale
Chihuly at the New York Botanical Gardens in 2006. Anyway, here’s how the story
unfolds … A friend of Roger’s somehow managed to intercept three truckloads worth
of paintings on their way to the dump. He salvaged 19 or 20 of them and took them
to Roger. Roger started hunting down the artist. “Do you know,” he told me, “there
is almost nothing about David Grossblatt on the web? But whatever there is seems
to be closely related to this Café Rienzi.” He had come across my Rienzi page
and from there discovered my business page and phone number and decided he would
attempt to contact me after a number of other leads failed. He was very interested
in finding out about the artist, and whomever was getting rid of these paintings,
and about the Café Rienzi. So I called my Aunt Joan and Uncle Tom and am in the
process of hopefully hooking them up with Roger so he can interview them, so to
speak. In the meantime, Roger emailed several photographs of David’s paintings,
and without further ado, here they are:


Featuring the Discovered Works of Artist David Grossblatt, Co-owner of the Cafe Rienzi


courtesy of Ligrano Studios, Seattle, Washington

3-Way Portrait - Abstract
Man, Woman, and Child - Impressionist
Group of People - Abstract Impressionist
Abstract
Nudes
Abstract Cat
Abstract
Abstract
Oriental Woman
Seascape Fantasy

More tidbits from my conversation with Aunt Joan and Uncle Tom:



David's parents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the U.S. David died of
a heart attack about 25 years ago. His romantic partner at the time of the Rienzi's start-up
was a Japanese gal named Amy Nakamura. Amy and David ended up going their separate
ways and then David married a woman named Eleanor. They had a daughter Celia
who settled out West.


Aunt Joan said David was her intro to art - that his personality was what art
was all about and that he was the soul of the Rienzi. I believe she also said
he had a Loft on 50 Grand Street. Both Aunt Joan and Uncle Tom were good friends
with David for many years. David and Uncle Tom first met when Uncle Tom was
attending Columbia University after World War II. Uncle Tom worked at a very
old grocery store on 8th Avenue 6 hours a day (gee, if it was very old back
then, what would it be now?). David’s father procured vegetables and knew how
to set up the vegetable stands and displays. He worked there part time. Aunt
Joan mentioned a few more names and facts about the customers of the Rienzi
– Gregory Corso, for one. Robert Frank was a well known photographer who made
a movie called “Pull my Daisy,” and Aunt Joan was the script supervisor. She
also said Bob DeNiro's (the father of the actor) works hang at the Brooklyn
Museum. Bob, the actor, was a tough kid. When she was a Counselor at the Greenwich
House, she had the 9 year old Bob DeNiro (the actor) in her group.



JuneBug

6 comments:

dbrown said...

great news about the lost paintings of david grossblatt. david hired me as a waiter at the o.g. dining room around1978 ot 1979. it was an amazing time and he was and is a major influence for me.

Artemesia said...

JuneBug..
As there is no link for comments with your recent posts of July, 2008, I'm posting here. Your Uncle Tom's paintings are beautiful and, by the way, his French ancestry is French Canadian..as is mine on my father's side. The new finds of David's are wonderful to see. I wonder when and where David met the 'Countess' who sponsored him in Paris and for a while when he returned to America. After all these years, I miss him and his cooking..He would have made a great chef..The best onion soup ever.
A

JuneBug said...

Thanks for posting, Artemesia, and for the information and reminiscences. I'm not sure why the comment links wasn't appearing on my other post. I do have a moderated blog because I was getting so much spam, but it is my hope that people will be able to comment and share their own experiences and memories associated with the Rienzi. If I ever get back to New York, I'm hoping I can find a couple of Aunt Joan's writings about the Rienzi.

Nicholas Birns said...

I am a friend of the poet Samuel Menashe who has several Grossblatt paintings in his possession, and was a good friend of the artist's. He does not use the Internet but several friends told him about your blog and he was very interested to hear of it and of your interest in Grossblatt's work.

Nicholas Birns said...

Mr, Menashe has a Grossblatt painting he may not have the room to keep...if you would like it (we would pay shipping) let me know (you can find my contact info by Googling me).

Anonymous said...

His daughter Celia must have inherited his paintings. I wonder what happened. I knew them, but lost touch after maybe 1980.