Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Aunt Dot, painting in public

My mother's 2nd older sister, Dorothea Kuhn - known as "Dot" or "Dottie" - was an artist, and loved to paint.  Very little of her work has survived unfortunately. Aunt Dot was born 6 Oct 1914 in North Vancouver, BC Canada, married in 1942, and died 26 Apr 2004 in New York, NY.  She was married to a French soldier, Gustav Mathieu, in San Francisco area during the early part of WW2, and divorced shortly after the war ended.

In the above photo she is on the ground, painting with her husband, Gustav Mathieu, at the side.  She was quite comfortable painting in public, apparently. A small photo album of her war years in San Francisco shows many different settings where she is painting on the ground, with people watching...

Late in life, living in Greenwich New York, she became quite demented and was hospitalized rather suddenly. Unfortunately many of her treasures were lost to us all, including the large wonderful photo album of the family in years past. What a treasure that could have been.  Sadly, gone now.  Two of her long-time best friends talked with me about her life in San Francisco, her art, and her love of textiles and clothes with a flair. They all worked in design for textiles, in New York, where she settled in Greenwich.

Contact me at calewis at telus dot net if you have questions or more information.  And, I love comments below!  Thanks for visiting.

6 comments:

Jana Last said...

Oh! What a shame that her treasures were lost! Do you know what was done with them? Were they just thrown away when she was hospitalized?

Jill Ball said...

Dot looks so elegant in that photo. What a treasure.

Celia Lewis said...

No one knows - it all happened quite quickly apparently. A social worker thought the next door neighbour would know - but she didn't. And I thought maybe there's be an overlooked box or two of Dot's belongings in the basement of the DeWitt Nursing Home in NY, but the social worker student searched everywhere and only found a tiny photo album from during the war, with some very old/decrepit clothes. Sigh. Gone. Maybe something will turn up on eBay or in a 3rd cousin's attic. I live in hope.

Celia Lewis said...

Always elegant! Always with a flair and a flash, with scarves, clothing materials/colours/patterns. She was very artistic and somewhat dramatic. I think there's something in the genes! :) Thanks for the comment, Jill.

John D. Tew said...

What a nice photo Celia. It captures a moment and freezes it in time like all photos do, but it was a time when they obviously were absorbed in one another. One has to wonder if that intimacy was another casualty of WWII.

I would not give up hope that the family album and maybe some of Dot's art might show up in the strangest, most unexpected way some day. As Jana can tell you based on her recovery of 100+ year old family postcards all the way from Ireland . . . you just never know what a Good Samaritan might do one day! ;-)

Celia Lewis said...

I live in hope, John! The family were relatively wealthy at that time, in politics, businesses, traveling, spending time with cousins. Oh, I'd love to see some of their photographs of the times!
Thanks for stopping by.

Welcome!

Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis