Monday, June 27, 2011
FLORIAN: 26 pieces;
4 mosaic/ceramic reliefs
6 family owned pieces
JOSEF: 43 pieces
16 family owned pieces
In time we hope to identify each piece by name with an accompanying photo.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
George and Brigitte pick me up bright and early, allowing for ample time to get to the airport and our last breakfast together before my flight home. It's a bittersweet moment for me.
My trip has been a great adventure. We've found the majority of of the works of Josephu we searched for, photographing and noting precise locations. We've had many laughs and enjoyed great meals and simple breakfasts together. my trip would not have been possible - and certainly not successful - if it weren't for George and Brigitte, my very gracious hosts. They have looked after me every step of the way, and shown me things I would not have had I been traveling on my own. They have made me feel a welcome member of the family, and I will treasure this trip forever. As wonderful as all of this is, I'm also looking to returning to New York, and to my life there.
There's still much work to do. not only look through all the mail that has piled up in my absence, but to sort through the more than 1,300 photos taken...and go through my notes for the blog....and to continue my research on the brothers Josephu. The items provided me by Renata and Dr. Weiss will require my attention so I may pull out relevant information to add to my biographic work.
I also need to return to business - to revive my acting career put on hold for almost two years during my mother's final days - and to get back to the efforts of my film partner and our company, Oroloro Entertainment, to somehow finance our projects. I need to return to my responsibilities as a Board Member of Screen Actors Guild and our effort to merge will fellow actor union AFTRA. ...to the upcoming SAG elections (where I hope to be re-elected)...to The Lambs ... and ym filmmaker networking group, IndieNights.
I need to send emails to everyone I've met along this journey, to thank Herbert Fischer and others for there assistance and friendship. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of them, and the newly-found family reunited on June 5th. I will certainly return to Vienna in a few years, and I look forward to breakfasts with George and Brigitte. Hopefully, with the finished tome on Josephu in hand, and perhaps a trip to Salzburg.
On my flight home on Air France I have ample time to review that past days in my mind, forever implanting these days in memory.
I'm driven back to my apartment so I may pack and ready for the early morning flight.
We exit back at
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Today George and Brigitte show me the beauty of the area around Klagenfurt.
We visited a monastery that began building in the year 890 and was converted about 10 years ago to a school. the fountain in the courtyard is dated 1675. We head up the mountainside, toward a tower perched atop a mountain peak. We pause for lunch first, then go up the tower.
The views from the tower are spectacular. We can see the
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Today we ventured out to a town just north of Vienna, Klosterneuburg. Last fall I was contacted by Herr Dr. Josef Weiss regarding a bust of the founder of the Federal College and Institute for Viticulture and Pomology Klosterneuburg, August Wilhelm von Babo, which was sculpted by my grandfather. The college conducts education and research on wine grapes, vines and wine making.
Many photos were taken, and then we went to George's apartment for more wine, and food, and talk. It was a very special time I'll always fondly remember. I look forward to keeping in contact with everyone...and I look forward to the next family reunion someday. George now has the photo scrape book and will soon scan it's pages and send them to me. A very special day indeed!
One family mystery remains, its evidence found a book of letters George has, formerly held by Florian. In 1952 there was a cordial letter from my grandmother, the red Olga, to Florian's wife, the black Olga. However, all these years we were told the family hide not survived World War Two. But the reality was they were in contact with the family long after the war. Now that my mother is dead this question will remain an mystery.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
We drove to the Vienna Woods, to a hill north of
We then head down the hill to the
We proceeded to a small town called Zistersdorf. A quaint village where we pursue one of Josef's works, a memorial to fallen soldiers. First a nice lunch at a lovely restaurant. Then off to the memorial, found as expected, behind a church called Maria Moos Kirche (or Wallfahrtskirche Maria Moos), which dates back to the 1200's.
We then headed off to a historical village called Museumdorf Niedersulz, which shows what life was like in the Austrian farmland 200 years ago with well preserved buildings that one may visit inside as well.
From here we drove across very green farmland dotted with small villages and arrived at a town called Gänserndorf. We are seeking a building that was once a rail station with a large relief on its wall by Josef. The area is somewhat flat, and the building is easy to spot - it's the tallest in the valley. The building had been renovated and expanded but the artwork was preserved. It was rumored that the building had been destroyed, but fortunately it was not.
From Gänserndorf we head back to
That evening we returned to Brigitte's apartment, and then went to a local spot for wine and food called a Heuriger. These are specially licensed taverns where only the wine from the vineyard may be sold, and a limited amount of food. We came several times to this particular Heuriger for good wine and snacks, and good conversation.
Today we ventured into Vienna'ss First District - the area in and around the RingStrasse. We began by visiting Stadtpark (
We then went down to the Graben, an area of streets closed off to traffic and now for pedestrian use only. We stop for a light lunch - small, tasty sandwiches at the 100 year old Trześniewski's....then we walked past Stephensdom - St. Stephen's Cathedral, the center of
We headed over to a school called the Academy Gymnasium. Inside the ornate lobby there is a marble relief by Josef. The Academy is the oldest secondary school in
From here we pass many museums and beautiful buildings, and walk down a narrow street and find a plaque of Johann Strauss (the father) by Florian. From there we headed to the Ringstrasse and grab a Strassbahn (street car)...and in two short stops we're at the Künsterlhaus. This was the site of the Association of Austrian Artists where both Josef and Florian were members. Josef left after a few short years, but Florian remained and was later made an honorary member. We took some photos inside then inquired if a historian or archivist was present. We met Nadine Willer who was extremely excited to greet us. Just the day before they had stumbled across this blog and had hoped we would visit. She welcomed us into the archives where she had readied a very large volume, to the pages on Florian. The photos of those pages will prove to be helpful. One thing is clear, the knowledge George and I have about Josef and Florian is more than any other source, and the publishing of our research is highly anticipated.
George needed to attend to some personal business, so I remained in the First District to meet up with him later. I walked down to the Academy of Fine Arts where Josef and Florian studied. I met with the university archivist, Ferdinand Gutschi. Herr Gutschi's English is a limited as is my German, but we managed. I presented good quality color copies of six certificates awarded to Josef, some signed by Professor Edmund von Hellmer and others by Professor Hans Bitterlich. Bitterlich was for many years the director of the Academy and a highly respected sculptor. Those certificates will go into the archives, and then I was permitted to photograph the interiors.
Then, once again, I crossed through the center of town, photographing like a happy tourist, and found my way over to Am Hof 5 - the site of the
I then found my way to the opposite side of the district, near the
Another personal note on Vienna, my visit afforded me the chance to eat many of the foods my mother made for us over the years. some I learned to cook, some my children also eat, and some I have been forgotten. At Jazzland I had one of the forgotten...Schinkenfleckrl. It was a wonderful ending to a very full and productive day.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
We searched for a large piece by Josef outside a hospital in Lainz, but here we had no luck. It was a piece marking the efforts of care for a World War I hospital – one of many – and most likely had been removed when the hospital was taken down. However, we did have some luck in locating a statue of Jesus/Sacred Heart in a Chapel of the
Later that evening we attended a wonderful concert by Yusuf Islam, once better known as Cat Stevens. A packed house rose for three standing ovations. Though his voice has shown some signs of age, he was very effective and entertaining, and his music is a powerful and relative as it was years ago. It was on the way to the concert hall where we found a large relief by Florian on the side of a building - and we notd the location to return later to photograph it in the daytime.
Afterward we went for a light supper and beer. Here there is a blend of beer - a mix of a dark beer and a pilsner - called a "schnitz"....something I hope to have again during this trip. While one would think Austrians love good beer – and they do – they also love good wine, and there are many wonderful vineyards in surrounding areas.