Thursday, 14 May 2015

Sketches by Felicja Blumental

John Ogden drawn by Felicja Blumental
John Ogden drawn by Felicja Blumental
The Polish-Brazilian pianist Felicja Blumental died in 1991, and recently her daughter has discovered that one of her childhood autograph albums, stored in an attic, contains around 20 of Blumental's own sketches. Blumental was recognised as an artist during her lifetime, but these new sketches add an interesting insight into the interlinking of her musical and artistic careers.

Josef Krips drawn by Felicja Blumental
Josef Krips drawn by Felicja Blumental
Blumental had a long career as a concert pianist, and whilst on concert tours she and her husband Markus Mizne would visit artists studios. The two formed personal relationships with artists such as Kokoschka, Chagall, Van Dongen, Foujita and Pons. It seems that during the visits, Blumental would be sketching and these 20 sketches are clearly some of the fruits. The portrait of Van Dongen even has compliment autographed in the 80-year-old artist's own hand. Blumental first started drawing in school, where she drew caricatures of teachers, and though she had no formal artistic training she took part in life classes. She often painted at night if she was involved in rehearsals during the day.

There are drawings of Marian Anderson, Eileen Farrell, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Backhaus, Arturo Toscanini, Ernest Alexandre Ansermet, Victoria de los Ángeles, Marguerite Long, Guiomar Novaes, Ida Haendel, Beniamino Gigli and John Ogden, which she kept as a memento of each particular concert. And drawings were often on random pieces of paper or concert programmes. It is hoped to arrange an exhibition of the drawings in Tel Aviv later in the year.

Felicja Blumental's recordings are available on Brana Records.

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