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May 1975 • Henry Geldzahler - to my studio in New York at 414 East 75th

Henry Geldzahler, the curator of Twentieth Century Art of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, wrote me a letter on Feb 14th, 1975 to let me know that:  “while he did not envisage showing my work at the Met soon, he was interested to see what I was doing and would have liked to visit my studio in April or May at our mutual convenience”.  

One day in May, sharp at 10.00 am the door bell rang: a robust person was there with a big cigar.

As I recall now almost 30 year later we had a wonderful relaxed meeting, he looked at my work with pleasure, and spent over 2 hours over coffee and cake talking about my life and work; he mentioned having seen my solo exhibit at the Phillips Collection June 1st - Sept 15th, 1974. We had common friends and enjoyed talking about the Art world in general.

He also knew, that I had shared a studio in Pietrasanta for over 6 years with Isamu Noguchi at the Cidonio Foundation for carvers, and he asked me about Isamu and his work. Henry was planning to invite Noguchi at the Venice Biennale, to represent America, and he did.

In those days there were people of the Art establishment that had a curiosity and interest to come and see the work of younger artists.

Today is only power, money, and politics. In many cases they won’t even answer letters; they seem to have a real pleasure in turning one down. Their favorite word isNO”: Thanks to them, one builds a very strong indestructible character, some commit suicide like Rothko.

There are very rare exceptions like Emmerick, Matisse, Phillips, Motte, Heller and all the others that I was fortunate enough to meet and work with. I will always remember the ones that supported my work with kindness and generosity.

Several months later, Henry Geldzahler called me to let me know, that among his many projects, he was starting a small space at the Met, where he planned to show younger artists of quality, that were not as yet “known by the general public”.

That was happy news; it opened my heart to hopes. However, I never had my chance at the Met, for this wonderful person died, I therefore lost a good friend and admirer of my work.

Only my book was very successful at the Met Book Store.

After Geldzahler, no one from Met was ever interested and curious enough to go to an artist studio to view the work. I always received letters of “Thanks for bringing the work to our attention”. Letters that were not signed by the person who had reviewed my work, but rather: “the Curatorial Staff”. I wonder if they ever bothered to look at all the material I had sent, before returning it.