BY CAROL MARKEL
When I was a newborn baby my mother, Mary, did an extraordinary thing. She invited Piet Mondrian to our house for lunch and "introduced us," so to speak. The year was 1944; the month was January.
Mary Markel in training to become
a Registered Nurse at Children's Hospital,
Buffalo, New York - 1940.
Our studio at 723 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.
Broadway Boogie-Woogie by Piet Mondrian.
1942-1943, Collection Museum of Modern Art, New York
Baby Carol.My mother invited Mondrian to come to lunch at our apartment. We lived in Bayside, Queens, and Mondrian took the Long Island Railroad from New York City, where he lived. It was a cold January day. My mother did not really know his aesthetic attitude but somehow, she knew instinctively what to do. She wore a yellow sweater, a blue skirt and string of red beads. She wrapped me in a white blanket with a black and gray linear design. She put red carnations on the table. She served food which she made in a Dutch oven.
Mondrian did not stay long on that afternoon in 1944. My mother told me of the meeting. She held me up to him, and he touched my chubby face. He even held me for a moment in his stringent, yet gentle, arms. He said that he was sure I would grow up to be an artist, be able to live in a disciplined environment, dedicate my life to art, and also, that I would marry an artist.
Me in my studio at 723 Chestnut.All these predictions came true. I was lucky to have met him when I did, because he died a month later. I will be eternally grateful to my mother.
Richard Cramer, the artist who I married.
The painting is a celebration of our love and
is called Spring Wall.
Dedicated to Mary Markel, 1919-2008
Thank you for giving me red carnations
each year on my birthday.