While it has been almost six years since we last spoke on the phone just after I left my job at the New Jersey State Museum I am greatly saddened by Monday’s obituary in The New York Times. I didn’t realize that you had pancreatic cancer. I immediately wondered why Joe Overstreet didn’t mention your health when I saw him at Kenkeleba a few months ago. Surely he knew. As did Corrine. Stella also had pancreatic cancer. I worry about my pancreas. But artists don’t die completely. Your works are tangible testimonials to your being, to your intellect. Yesterday I looked at the Robeson Center Gallery catalogue with your beautiful works reproduced in color. Joseph Campbell must have been proud to have been your teacher. Didn’t you tell me that you heard him lecture while he was at Columbia University? Ten years ago I listened to his taped lectures in the studio while painting. I thought of you then.
I’ll never forget the innumerable times I called you from the Museum when the atmosphere got too much for me to bear. You were wonderful to me–even though I was interrupting your painting–or was I a welcome diversion from it? Your paintings “look back to go forward”– occupying an idiosyncratic realm–part ancient and partly of the moment. Your pastels are as great as your oils. How ironic that I have known well two artists who deal with metamorphosis of the animal world? Miriam Beerman and you both. Metamorphosis is not a timely interest. Your hybrid animal’s spines are so sensual. Their skeletal rib cages are as full as those of an opera star when singing. Your animals struck the poses of taxidermy specimens living and breathing now. Just as your essence Emilio is still very much here. I only have to look at the Rutgers catalogue.