Just Once For All Time: Arik Brauer at the Leopold Museum

A lavish celebration for an artist who is 85 but young at heart

Vienna (OTS) – “Just Once For All Time”: the celebration in honor of Professor Arik Brauer at the Leopold Museum was one of those unique moments that Lilian Harvey sang about in her immortal song from 1931. Brauer’s entire family came on Thursday night to celebrate the opening of the artist and Pater Familias’s large-scale retrospective "Arik Brauer. Gesamt.Kunst.Werk". The presentation at the Vienna Leopold Museum features more than 270 works by the artist, most importantly his “fantastic” paintings from six decades.

Arik Brauer’s daughters had many surprises in store for their father’s special celebration. The Timna Brauer and Elias Meiri Ensemble, with Michael Croitoru-Weismann on the cello and Courtney Maxwell-Jones on the drums, played songs from important places in Arik Brauer’s life – Schubert’s “Lindenbaum”, an Israeli "Song of Songs", the French chanson "Les feuilles mortes" (Autumn Leaves) by Jacques Prévert and Joseph Kosma, and finally a jazzy and swinging interpretation of the traditional Alpine song “Archduke Johann Yodel”.

Ruth and Talja Brauer gave a humorous and witty reading of a profound passage from Brauer’s recently republished autobiography "Die Farben meines Lebens" on the development of creative man from the Stone Age to modern artists.

Hugo Portisch, one of the "most profound contemporary witnesses" (Franz Smola), talked about Brauer’s life, about the happy moments as well as his tragic fight for survival during the Nazi era, when Arik jumped at the last second from the train transporting him to a certain death. Having gone into hiding, he lived to see the liberation and ran cheering towards freedom alongside Russian tanks as they were still engaged in combat and tried to chase him away. Arik Brauer was so moved by his companion’s speech that he literally fell into Portisch’s arms – a moving scene of great intensity.

The director of the Leopold Museum and curator of the exhibition Franz Smola lauded the successful collaboration between "one of the most original artists and one of the most imaginative architects", referring to the famous architect Gustav Peichl’s contribution to the design of this presentation. The exhibition’s co-curator Alexandra Matzner, who was not yet born when Brauer enjoyed great success with his Viennese songs, praised the "Ottakring original" Arik Brauer as a "true child of Vienna". Matzner added that their difference in age became a lot less pronounced during their collaboration, for instance when Brauer jumped on a desk with impressive agility, leaving her to marvel at his youthful comportment.

More than 1000 enthusiastic visitors celebrated at the Leopold Museum with Arik Brauer and his family, most notably Elisabeth Leopold, the chairman of the board of directors of the Leopold Museum Helmut Moser and the directors of the Leopold Museum Franz Smola and Peter Weinhäupl, co-curator Alexandra Matzner, TV legend Hugo Portisch and his wife Gertraude, the architect Gustav Peichl and his wife, the famous mathematician Professor Rudolf Taschner and his wife Bianca Taschner, Ambassador Martin Eichtinger, the head of the culture department of the Foreign Ministry, the former US ambassador Helene von Damm, the film producer Norbert Blecha, actors Bela Koreny, Cornelius Obonya and Mijou Kovacs, the “radical” stand-up comedian Alf Poier, the historian and Brauer biographer Helene Maimann, the artists Anne Hausner, widow of the Fantastic Realist Rudolf Hausner, Linde Waber, Florentina Pakosta, Xenia Hausner and Gerhard Gutruf, the director David Schalko, the member of parliament and former minister Nikolaus Berlakovich, the former Carinthian governor Gerhard Dörfler, state attorney at the finance ministry Gottfried Toman, top lawyer Gabriel Lansky, the director of the stadtTheater Walfischgasse Anita Ammersfeld, the entrepreneur Erwin Javor, “Kurier” journalist Georg Markus, “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” correspondent Charles E. Ritterband, the legendary gallery owner and author Wolfgang G. Fischer and his wife Jutta, and many more.

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