Showing posts from August, 2017


July 20, 1969 – [4:17 pm EDT] Apollo 11 becomes the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong (commander), Buzz Aldrin (lunar module pilot) and Michael Collins(command module pilot) were the crew. The Apollo 11 spacecraft consisted of the command module, Columbia, and the lunar module, Eagle. At my newspaper office in Linz it was just after 10 P.M. on this muggy Sunday in July. In the large conference room you could have heard a feather drop. Nobody dared light a lighter, beer bottles were set down on the table with the same quiet care a newborn would have deserved. The only noise came from the five television monitors and the TELEX machines in the next room. Every editor was present and despite the heat we all wore our best ties and coats. We were totally mesmerized by what was happening some 240,000 miles from where we sat: The lunar lander Eagle was about to touch down on the surface of the moon. We had senior editors who had covered the evacuation of concentration…

SKIING AND RACING CARS - FUN AND TRAGEDY in the late 60s and early 70s in Austria

Like most Austrian kids I was skiing just as soon as I could walk. I remember being between my granddads knees sliding down a small hill on our property on my little wooden skis with prehistoric Kandahar spring bindings and too large bamboo poles (they came up to my ears). When I was about seven years old, I was allowed to ski pretty much any hill with my ski crazy elders and at age ten I had a national ski pass good for any hill in the country. Below is a poster of my very favorite ski area back home: Saalbach.
In many Winter Olympics my little country was (and is) a dominant force and this is no accident. In high school or my Gymnasium, it is mandatory to take skiing classes and we have two weeks every winter when those of us able to ski with proficiency were brought to a two week ski camp in the Alps. We even received massive scholastic credits for doing well in the almost daily competitions in all three major categories, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Downhill. On this my elders did not s…


I wrote this story a while ago but since this auto-bio is about my life and work - I should like to share one of my favorite pieces with you:

ELEGANCE Elegance - I wish I had it! 

By Manfred Rieder

When I grew up in my grandparent's home in Austria in the 50's, "Elegant" was a painting by Gustaf Klimpt (above is an excerpt of his wonderful painting "friends"), or my grandfather's portrait of the great conductor Herbert von Karajan, complete with his shock of white hair, baton poised, ready to conquer the Salzburg Music Festival. I actually attended some master classes by Karajan at the Mozarteum and he was truly "elegant" in his subtle nuances, the underpainting of his orchestral readings, the muted brasses, the almost inaudible oboes.
I shall never be elegant. I could possibly dress up well in my good suit and have my hair done, but I just don't have what it takes. Once a Volkswagen, always a Volkswagen. There were no Bugattis in my family, no…


Time for some reflection:

Once again I am  sitting here, completely solitary. This is of course my own fault as after Nancy's death I isolated myself, first because I was devastated, then because it simply became easier to immerse myself in my paintings, sculptures, wood work, music and books. I have one great friend in Eddie Vos from Sutton, Quebec, who visits at least twice every week and without his incredible friendship I would have become completely lost by now.
Yet, after the first four weeks of daily hospital visits for radiation treatments or chemo therapy for advanced stage cancer of the Esophagus, it would be nice to have someone to speak to when needed, if even just by telephone. Loneliness is almost as bad as the specter of possibly incurable cancer. But I created this environment so I best learn to live with it.
On the plus side, I have a great young hound named Hope and my favorite cat Brownie, great day and night companions and a source of joy but also of concern: &quo…


Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

This was the full name of Pablo Picasso when he was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881. On our second afternoon at his villa in Mougins, France, he wrote this down for me because we had engaged in making fun of the long names of some aristocrats still holding sway in the casinos and beach resorts of Europe.
"I was 33 years old when those titled (expletive deleted) started World War One in order to hang on to their empires and monarchies. Later my work up to this point was broken down in 'periods', from Blue to Rose, the African, Analytic Cubism and Synthetic Cubism. I knew nothing of this then because I simply lost interest in a particular style and begun to experiment with something new. Most of my 'periods" cannot really be defined by specific time frames or events, they segued into one another, often seamlessly, at other times because I simply lo…

"I like you but I am not going to make you rich". Pablo Picasso, October 1968

"My work has always been parsed into 'periods' but if this were so, God had his creative periods as well. On the first day He created the heavens and the earth...I call that His 'blue period' mused Pablo Picasso on the rear terrace of his home L'Antre du Minautore in Mougins, France on Friday, October 11 1968.

Tamara and I had arrived at noon, escorted by a representative of a Mougins gallery favored by Picasso, a gentlemen who had been instrumental in helping me to secure an interview with the greatest living painter of that time. We had flown to Cannes and had rented a fine Peugeot for the drive to the coast. Mougins is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France. It is located on the heights of Cannes, in the district of Grasse. Mougins is a 15-minute drive from Cannes.

We had been welcomed by an elderly woman who was either a friend or a housekeeper. We were never to find out because she only spoke Basque and just enough French to get …

On my way home from college on Nov.22, 1963

Dedicated to my other grandfather Joseph Stuetzner

On the evening of November 22, 1963 I was walking home from college with my friends Martin Abel and Heinz Kretzky when we saw a large group of people gathered around the local Phillips TV and radio shop. The place customarily had a large television console in its window and two speakers mounted outside so that people could enjoy some free entertainment. Not too many folks back home in Linz, Austria, could afford a television set and even those who had one grumbled about the high taxes the government had levied on the use of a radio or TV set. Our programming was pretty crappy then also as we had the official stations and with some decent antenna manipulating one could possibly get the station from Munich which did nothing but American programming such as "Father Knows Best" or "Lassie".
I was not interested in the goings on because I was deeply engrossed in my friend Martin's recounting of his almost-date with on…

Flashback: My first wife Brigitte Tamara

This was Brigitte Tamara Krempus's dream in 1967 when I first met her in Moscow. She had graduated from ballet school, performed well but was considered "too old and too angular" to make it into the fall line-up of the Kierow ballet. So she had decided to focus on teaching and became quite well known for her handling of the aspiring little brats and their demanding parents. I was in Moscow as a foreign correspondent for an Austrian paper and a news agency, mainly because I spoke the language and had been the "old Russia hand" at my paper, having covered the fledgling SALT talks long before SALT 1 became a reality on November 17, 1969. I was even allowed to interview chairman Leonid Brezhnev which should warrant another chapter in itself because we never talked politics, rather as a collector and connoisseur of vintage cars, he had found out that I was of a like mind and we discussed the relative merits of the BMW six cylinder engine versus the venerable Jaguar 3…

From Prague Spring to the Winter of my Discontent

The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968 when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pactinvaded the country to halt the reforms.

On Sunday, August 18, 1968,at 4:30 A.M. I was called to the office of my editor-in-chief, Dr. Polz. This was unusual as was the request to bring casual clothes for at least three days, my camera bag, passport and other pertinent personal documents. When I arrived, the paper was buzzing with subdued excitement, our assistant editor-in-chief was alarmingly sober, junior writers were milling outside the glass enclosed sanctum sanctorium and I was ushered right into the presence of our Lord and Master.
"You know Prague, you speak t…


The photo on top shows the offices of the publishing house (right) where the daily newspaper "Linzer Volksblatt" is published. This picture is from the time I worked there in 1963.

My second journalistic home in Linz: The editorial offices of the "Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten", (Upper Austrian News) My office was two windows up from the main door.


It is 7:30 P.M. on July 29. I just completed my second week of daily radiation treatment and my third chemo therapy and I am miserable. I hurt all over, can barely swallow water and am currently watching my feeding tube ever so slowly dripping nutrients into me. So, since I do not think many people will ever get to read this even if I get to finish it, I shall take the evening off and see what there is on British Comedy.

 Back to writing:

I finished school in April 1964, college did not start until the fall term, so I got my first real job at the Linzer Volksblatt, one of two daily newspapers in town. This…