fame is a great motivator. no less a philosopher than f2fb friend #45 max tam, when offered by me a choice of love, fame or money, opined that he desired fame first, because the money would follow and, well, the women would make a hasty entrance.
sometimes people are enormously famous in their lifetimes and then fall into obscurity. i think of the duchess of newcastle, a greatly popular writer whose works nobody could now name (okay, okay, send me an email with three of her works and i’ll buy you a beer!). there’s girolamo savonarola who singlehandedly changed western europe in 1500 and then poof! it’s as if he never existed. and then there are those people who aren’t widely known in their lifetimes but come to represent an age–emily dickinson would be surprised that she is now famous.
greta kempton was famous in her lifetime as a celebrated portraitist. she was commissioned to do the official portrait of president harry truman, the first female artist to be so honored.
but then greta passed on. many of her works were bequethed to the harry truman library and that’s where my f2fb friend #172 kristen jasinski comes in. she and her husband wesley bought the bulk of the collection. their house is full of greta’s paintings:
kristen and wesley believe so much in the value of greta’s work that they have formed a foundation and a website — gretakempton.org — to preserve and enhance her stature as “america’s da vinci”. kristen is a docent for the organization. as she took me on a tour of the house, i noticed this greta kempton self-portrait on the artist’s palette:
with a champion such as f2fb friend kristen jasinski, greta will become once again a famous painter. so kristen is a good friend to me and a good friend to greta kempton!
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