Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life with Renger

Carla (hand on the X-Ray), Olivia, Andreas, and Ilse (far right)
all consider an X-Ray of Rubens' "Massacre of the Innocents"
(I can't remember the woman in orange).
 I call this post "Life with Renger" because for a great part of my time in Munich, I worked as an assitant to Konrad Renger, who was both curator of 17th Century Flemish paintings at the Alte Pinakothek and a noted Rubens scholar. During the period I was at the Pinakothek (my office was in the Neue, but we made frequent trips across to the Alte, which was being restored and updated), there were so many of us in the Renger retinue--sometimes as many as five--that when people saw us coming, they called us "FC Renger," meaning "Football Club" Renger. We apparently looked like a soccer team, trailing behind a coach.

 In the picture you see above, a group of us are regarding an X-Ray of Rubens' painting "Massacre of the Innocents". I've written about this specific experience before. To get all the juicy details, you can take a look at this earlier blog posting, titled "I've seen this painting naked". I'm not in the pic, since I'm taking it, and sadly, time has erased from my mind the name of the woman in orange, who was only with us a few times. However, the rest of the folks in the picture I saw every day, and they all became my friends. On the left is the fantastic Carla, who could speak four languages, and became an intern a month after I began in February of 1998. She is Spanish, but admitted she could speak French better because she'd spent years in a French school. Her father was an architect, and she often got invited to events like champagne dress rehearsals at the opera. Next to her is an art restorer named Olivia (with the pencil in her bun). She is half-French and always very chic. She and Carla eventually planned my surprise going-away party--in my presence!--entirely by speaking French to each other. And making gestures is a research fellow named Andreas, about whom I have funny stories I will later share when we get to additional pictures of him. He was a very serious character, with whom I liked to have fun and sometimes affectionately torment. Last but definitely not least, is the sweet Ilse, who also had a wonderful going-away dinner for me before I left to come back to the US in July.

Claudia Denk and Konrad Renger working on this book.
Several times, we met Renger at his country home. These were pretty idyllic times. While he worked on a book about Flemish painting in the Alte Pinakothek with scholar Claudia Denk, Carla and I picked berries, read books, or made meals. In the picture at right, we were playing hooky from work, although they are clearly working. I took this photo through Renger's kitchen window into his side yard, where the two were working at what would eventually become our lunch table. You can see the beginnings of lunch in the final pic.

More pictures of all this to come in the next post.

Carla, Dr. Renger, and me (ay! 40 pounds heavier than I am now and with a terrible haircut)
The conversation looks awfully serious, doesn't it?
Gracious, he's holding a knife, too.
Not sure what we were all talking about anymore. It wasn't that serious.

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