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This is still a draft please feel free to contact me to correct any mistakes you might find and suggest editorial improvements.


Extract from a letter from Gavin (Nigel's older brother): "The business followed by Hyman in England (1842) was the manufacture of pigments. His father had worked in the laboratory of Liebig (remembered still for his condenser by every chemistry student) where a breakthrough had occurred with a new method of producing Prussian Blue. The secret was to be exploited ‘royally’ by the Kohnstamms who were sent forth by their father to New York, London and Zurich to establish businesses based on this pigment. I think its importance was due to its role in the production of black patent leather,

I wrote about Grandpa Konstam before I received Gavin’s input; I had always understood that the business was selling leather, not dyes. I have left my version not knowing which is truer. The business ended up manufacturing leather under the name Randak. But I do remember visiting at the age of 8 two Konstam young men in a splendid penthouse apartment in NY city, they were in the dye business; we ate blue Easter eggs.

This account of my life in art sounds like a fairy-tale in parts. But let me state clearly that on the contrary, it is the truth, not the whole truth because that would bore everyone and take too long, this is for entertainment as well as enlightenment. It is nothing but the truth as I see it and most of it is well documented. Make of it what you will.

I am a sculptor, 87 years old, living in Tuscany in the little village of Casole d’Elsa. It's the 6th of March 2020 and the corona virus from China is slowly moving towards us. Italy is leading Europe in infection. Having rather bad lungs from sculpting all my life I realise I am particularly vulnerable. I am therefore speeding up the idea of writing autobiographical notes. Looking back it seems my life has been like the game of Snakes and Ladders - good luck and bad luck have come in equal measure and rather more strongly than for most people. I have just been rereading the autobiography of Cellini and mine wont be nearly so enthralling, nonetheless is could be of interest to other dyslexics like myself. Certainly I hope to leave my mark on the art history establishment which has ignored the detective work which has earned me the title of the Sherlock Holmes of art history among my admirers and is as clear to me as checkmate in Rembrandt and The Parthenon. These need to be discussed because both are fundamental to art practice now. I expect my family will be interested in what I remember of the characters among their ancestors so I will begin from there.

The family was undoubtedly a good piece of luck we were perhaps among the top 10% of families in Britain in terms of wealth. My grandfather Rudolph and his brother Alfred were born in Germany to a family of Jews who were definitely secular rather than religious Jews. They came to England at the age of about 16 I think. My grandfather was the elder of the two; they joined an established family business of leather (possibly dye) merchants and somehow became the sole proprietors fairly soon afterwards. How that happened no one quite knows. Quite clearly it was not accepted by the established family in England because the two sides never spoke to one another again. Hyman’s son became one of the first judges in income tax so obviously he had other interests. His judgments are still referred to today.

I was the first one to re-establish contact after three generations of separation. I did this by writing to every Konstam in the London telephone directory to invite them to my first exhibition which I gave in my own studio. Michael Konstam who was a banker living in Dulwich was descendent of the other side of the family came to the exhibition and bought six or seven drawings. His son Dominic inherited the drawings and became one of my best patrons some 40 years later. Michael was the son of Keneth K the Bridge champion, (of the world I believe). He used to write the Bridge column for the Sunday Times.

I could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old when my grandfather died. I remember him as an old man in a wheelchair and to be honest we didn't have much to say to one another. My brother Gavin was his first born grandson and was his absolute favourite. Grandpa encouraged his natural interest in geology, in stamp collecting, in coin collecting. Gavin was always a scholarly type throughout life; he had a remarkable memory; at one stage he did one of those psychological tests to see what kind of profession he would be best at. The answer came back that he should be a museum curator; everyone in the family thought that was quite clear that was the answer but Gavin was furious. He wanted to be a writer. When we were queuing outside the British Museum to go to the Tutankhamun exhibition our conversation proved how right the test had been; when I say conversation it was mainly Gavin's monologue. I was just there to ask the right questions. For at least 20 minutes Gavin answered me and a circle of listeners formed around us. I think he would have been much more successful in life if he had followed the psychological advice.

He was 3 years older than I. We were so far apart in size, maturity and mentality that we hardly exchanged a word till I was about 17 though his classical records were my first source of taste in music. He had an inspired teacher of piano in Tamara Osborne. Mozart was my first love, his piano concertos in particular. Tommy Osborne was a school friend of Gavin’s. Tommy was a brilliant pianist himself but chose to become a medical doctor; afterwards a business psychologist and trapeze artist!

In fact my first visit to Italy was in Tommy’s snazzy looking, second-hand sports car with Gavin and Paul Carrington aboard, Tommy driving. We had just descended a mountain pass and were parking when the steering gave way completely. On another occasion the engine was going but the wheels stopped turning. We were 100yds from a garage where a lone mechanic was building a racing car. He came to our rescue and after 2 minutes pulled out a 6 inch nail that had been holding the transmission together. He must have found something a bit more reliable to replace it because we were on our way again within half an hour.

My Konstam grandmother, became the pillar of my life through constant contact and her overwhelming character. She was unwittingly highly destructive to a good number of her other relatives particularly on the female side. My sister Gemma never quite recovered from her meeting with Grandma. They were two strong characters and at the age of 7 my sister was at a decided disadvantage. I myself was not a strong character and so found ways of living with Grandma which did not destroy me. I avoided contact as much as possible. I helped her in looking after her ducks and chickens, and played games with her such as draughts or croquet which she always won; this naturally lubricated our relationship, though I did not lose on purpose. She had not the slightest compunction in sending my croquet ball into the blue yonder or wiping the board in draughts.

Grandma was one of 13 surviving children half Italian and half German Jewish but born in London. She had been queen skipper in Compaigne Gardens; doing 608 jumps. She was a pillar of strength so much so that she was difficult to live with. She was fiercely socialist and fierce in any other of her beliefs. She was well known for falling out with her best friends not speaking to them for years and with her family particularly her sisters, daughters and granddaughter's. She had top down relationships with all when I knew her. I believe she and Rudolph first met at a socialist meeting.

A famous story to illustrate her force of character. Grandpa K bought her for her birthday “Pola”a bronze bust by Epstein. It was delivered to the door without warning. Grandma was furious because she had not been consulted so it was put in the library and no one was allowed to enter for months. My father Geoffrey defended the purchase so the bust became a fixture at home, 6 Wildwood Rise. Gavin inherited it. It is a very fine example of Einstein's work. Clearly she was in charge at home whatever Rudolph did in business.

I was therefore very surprised when a huge cache of letters from her two eldest sons was found. They were letters from the front, both were killed in the first world war fighting their cousins in Germany, still with the German spelling of their name: Kohnstamm, meaning tribe of Cohn, the priestly tribe. I think my father was the first on our side of the family to anglicize the spelling following the example of the original family in England.

The letters were loving, friendly and on occasion even cajoling their mother for being too tough on her elder daughter Nancy. Letters I could not imagine sons of 16 and 18-19 sending to the person I knew as Grandma. Their relationship was obviously with a modern, sympathetic mother, mine with a Victorian disciplinarian. She used to admonish me “insist upon yourself” with special emphasis on insist. I became insistent when I went to Camberwell through interest in what I was doing, not before. Years later I made a sculpture of her with fists clenched - insisting. I kept it in my studio for several years, then destroyed it.

By nature I take after my mother who was a totally different character, basically wanting to enjoy life, much less of a striver, well known for her generous dry Martinis with a good shot of gin, but by no means an alcoholic, a constant smoker in spite of health warnings and her medical training.

In her old age , she lived to 98, she did not touch a drop, preferred fruit juice and gave up smoking because it gave her no pleasure at 85. She was an anaesthetist during and after the war but her real love was ballet. She had wanted to be a dancer but her father Fred would have none of it. She wrote poems and short stories mainly when young but was published in Norway in her fifties. Her loo was plastered with photos of Nureyev in Weather Down Farm, her home, down the road from the Carringtons after Geoffrey’s death. She lived in Lambourn with a pied-a-terre in Holland Park near us at 51 Norland Sq.

She was never a cautious driver and continued to drive till about 87 when a large articulated lorry pulled over in front of her, the driver got out and shook his fist along with a few rude words, that stopped her where our pleadings had failed. She moved into Norland Sq. permanently. By that time her great friends the Carringtons had moved to Sussex, and Janet and I had moved to Stert, from the cottage (Sheep Drove) on the Lambourn Downs.

My relationship with Grandma was never very positive. She called me gedunkfrau and translated that as thought lazy. I was often compared with her brother Dan, who had also been killed in the First World War but he had a long-standing reputation as a ne'er-do-well before that; he went to Africa and got to shoot elephants. He shot a female by mistake, a huge disgrace. Grandma obviously thought that I was destined for the same unsatisfactory existence. She died when I was 17 so she never got to know how surprised she would have been by my subsequent development; though she did admire my first sculptural portrait of my grandpa Dunn.

I got to know grandpa Dunn only when he came to live with us in his old age. He was not at his best. His professional life was amazing. I got to know a half of it from his obituary in The Lancet. He had won two gold medals for science at Trinity College Dublin, gone on to the Patent Office where he earned an OBE for his work on explosives in WW1. He worked there till retirement and then took up medicine, qualifying at 63. He was a contemporary with my mother at medical school (Charring Cross) she was often called to attend to him as he fainted at the sight of blood. This did not prevent him from practising. He was in charge of a mental hospital in Epsom till he was in his 80s. He was a chess champion playing at county level, an under arm bowler of great repute and used to read Browning for the BBC and was a member of the Butler Society. I read Butler’s “Of Life and Habit” on his recommendation and it struck home; various evolutions have been an abiding interest for life. His Christmas presents were ordered from a discount dealer in books; the price was usually still legible, though grandpa had attempted to rub them out. I never read one, they had very dusty but improving titles.

My grandma Dunn I never got to know. She retired to north Wales and I have a vague memory of her at tea when I was about four but I am thankful for her genes. I visited her cottage in Betws-y-Coed long after her departure, it was pretty isolated and high up with splendid views but no trace of her water colours let alone her copies of Turner, three of which I am proud to own. A charming very distant cousin was living in the cottage.

It took till I was about 30 before I surprised myself by my own abilities. By the age of 21 I had suffered a persistent lack of self-confidence that has never quite left me. When I went to Art School I soon found that my talent was particularly for sculpture and I was good at it. I put my heart and soul into doing it as well as I could. It seemed the only thing that I was good for. But this limited self-confidence was not echoed by my teachers, I left art schools without any diplomas let alone prizes. My persistence was more due to seeing no alternative than to recognition. Though I wrote in an early diary that if Rembrandt himself told me to give it up I would not.

My mother and father were both medical doctors in fact there were 7 doctors in the family practising in my youth. My very early years were very normal for a family at our comfortable income level in England at the time. We children were looked after by a nanny who was a lovely person. I saw very little of my mother or father. My earliest memory of my mother was her bringing a bottle of yoghurt into the nursery and we all ate it with gusto. She was very good at telling stories on the few occasions when we went out on the heath together. She owned a succession of big dogs which were her usual companions on walks. Buster, a bull-mastiff was so ferocious he had to be given away. At that stage nanny was the first woman in my life. At the age of six I was shunted off to live with Grandma, at the Glebe House, Corfe Castle because of the threat of war.
I and my older cousin Romola, and younger cousin Jan shared a very nice old lady tutor who came from the village to teach us; I was not a very rewarding pupil. It is quite clear to me now that I suffered from dyslexia. Nor did I shine at drawing because my two cousins were both very good at it. My first lesson in drawing was from their father Maurice. I remember it vividly, he first sharpened the pencil to the longest point I have ever seen on a pencil. I don't exaggerate , the led stuck out more than a centimetre. It gave the impression of being an instrument of great precision,- the rest of the lesson I think was a stick man, a bit disappointing. But Maurice became a top quality amateur painter after his retirement from the BBC.

We could say ours was an arty family; my cousin's grandfather was a fairly well-known artist, my grandmother Dunn was not well known but an excellent copyist of Turner and other great painters of her time. She painted herself but without great distinction. My grandfather K and his brother were great patrons of the arts; buying Epstein and Gaudier Brzeka in their early days and supporting Wolmark for life. Grandma K was very interested in the theatre in fact she ran a children's theatre group and put on a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream in Angermering on Sea, long remembered. There was still a battered marble portrait of Shakespeare in Angermering when Grandma went to live there again after WWll. Three girls who performed there afterwards became actresses; Phylis K a rather famous one. Both Gavin and Jan wrote plays. Rudolph’s family went very often to the theatre.

I even had a short spell acting at the North Kensington film club, I did 2 comic parts, Nazredin and an Austrian Jewish theatrical agent, in exchange for the films they did for me in art history. I tihnk I did well. My grandson Oliver won a scholarship to act at secondary school. I think he was auditioned for the Harry Potter films. He is a great mimic.

Many of my school holidays between the ages of 12 and 15 were spent in Angermering just after the war. I led a small gang of 13 year olds who investigated the many abandoned homes there, still with some furniture and old Punch magazines to browse. Meanwhile Gavin was devising bombs in his chemistry lab, they never went off.

When we children, Gavin, Gemma and I went off to America I was 7. In fact ours was the last refugee convoy to make it. The following one was sunk by the U boats. But at 7 it was just an adventure. It took three weeks because we were zigzagging to avoid possible torpedoes and saw a number of icebergs on the way. We landed at Montreal. I had very few memories of my actual parents but a very full memory of grandma K even then.

The Clinic
I have been critical of Grandma K, but she had very many positive sides. It came as a great surprise to me when I finally visited her clinic in Highgate. She used to go every Monday from Angermering to Highgate involving a number of taxis trains (always 3rd class) and the underground to visit her clinic which she did more or less to the end of her life. Yet she had never invited me to visit the clinic. Was it modesty? If so it deprived me of a considerable source of family pride. I made annual visits to the factories for processing leather in my teens along with Gavin and Jan, in the hope that one of us would join the family business - Randak (R and A K). Gavin did spend 3 or 4 years there, and was later responsible for refusing an offer from an asset stripper to buy the business that never made a reasonable profit after the coming of plastic. It was eventually sold and continued to manufacture till 1978.

The clinic that Grandma and Grandpa K built in memory of their two sons killed in the First World War was amazingly big and obviously had been extremely well-equipped originally. With the coming of the NHS it had been relegated to a school for pre-school children. I saw it for the first time when Romola presented a mosaic to honour and remind us that it was 100 years since the end of the First World War. It was a great family occasion and afterwards Gavin’s son Philip had invited us to a lunch in memory of Gavin who had died recently.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the benefaction. It seemed way beyond what anyone might reasonably expect of a rich man, but not exceedingly rich. I wish there was a history of the clinic. It must have been difficult enough living through the WW1, let alone as a German born manufacturer of shoe leather for the British army in which his two eldest sons had died fighting. What an amazing response - to build such a clinic in the nearest slum area to Hampstead where he lived in a large house, 41 Frognal. It was reason for great family pride and I saw it for the first time at the age of 86. Grandma may have wounded many of her nearest and dearest unintentionally and with the best intentions but she had done wonders for many thousands of suffering children. She has been a beacon to me, respected through-out.

USA 1940 - 44
Very fortunately we went as a big family, us three and my father's secretary Nancy Moller, with her two children Ann and David. Nancy was our surrogate mother and she did a really wonderful job. She was humorous, good natured, and thoroughly fair in dealing with us children regardless of familial connection. The boys called her Nancy and the girls Mummy. Ann would occasionally tell Gemma – “my mummy, not your mummy”.

Our share of the expedition was paid for by my grandma's elder brother Josie who lived in Panama and owned pearl fisheries, coffee plantations and many other business enterprises. He was in fact the sole survivor of my Piza great grandfather's business interests in that area. Four of his brothers and his Father had died of yellow fever. The brothers had been called out one after the other as each died. Clearly his brother Dan had only been saved by his incompetence.

Josie was old and never visited but entrusted us to two unmarried cousins who were the bane of Nancy’s life as they had very old fashioned ideas about how English kids should be brought up. They were kind to me and encouraged my artistic talent. Buddy never married and was an architect, Margaret married late to a very nice guy called Ned who had been previously married, she became much more human as a result.

We first lived in White Plains a suburb of New York. I went to The Post Road School, did little and my best friend was black. Before the war in England I do not think I had ever seen a black person. The Sutter family were next door neighbours and Ronald was my particular friend. Later he became a Professor of Love in an American university.

After a year or so we moved to Scarsdale another suburb now famously wealthy but then lower middle class in our area. I think my time in America was the happiest part of my childhood. In Scarsdale we lived in a quiet street full of other families with children and more or less had the run of anyone's house who was a friend. We played in the street, life was very easy the “Good Humor” man came selling ice-cream when it was too hot. Across the street from us was the Fry family and I became friends with Eric. In cold winters they flooded their lawn and we all went skating on it.

Gavin went to a boarding school, I and Ann went to the Edgewood school but again I did little and sat at the back of the class; my form teacher had very long finger-nails and was quite creepy. I got a lot of punishing homework in the form of spelling but it had no effect.

Ann who was a year younger than me was brilliant at every subject, above me in school and beat me up when we wrestled. She used to knock my head on the floor and asked “will you marry me Nigel?”, “No”, and another knock on the floor. I was more friendly with David 3 years younger than I. We all remained more than friends for life. Ann became a Cambridge ‘Blue’ in fencing and mothered two sons who were the backbone of the English Polo team. Having wrestled with Ann one of my friends remarked “that girl has muscles of steel”, he suffered as I did but without the proposal of marriage.

In 1944 most people believed that the war was nearly over and I and Gavin were sent back to England on a lend-lease aircraft-carrier. That was a great adventure, we witnessed the first trial of their guns in mid Atlantic. I treasured an Eulican cartridge-case as a memento. We had lessons in naval history from a midshipman from which I took away the strange fact that no ship could go faster than the squareroot of its length in knots. 20 years latter this led me to waste a lot of time on a washless hull that failed miserably. Its inventor had a splendid explanation for the limited speed of a conventional hull: the faster the propeller turned the deeper the hole the ship had to climb out off. Unfortunately his design answer was not as brilliant as his criticism.

We arrived in Britain in time for the coming of the first doodlebugs. They were unmanned aircraft with a large amount of explosive inside. After them came V.2s which were rockets. I was again fostered with Grandma who was then living in Cookham; we heard distant explosions nothing more.

For my first term I was sent to the nearest school (Herese) which happened to be all girls. It was an enchanting introduction to my new life in England, I was 11 so just the wrong side of puberty and was intrigued but embarrassed when all the girls bathed naked in the school pool. I was of course invited in but too embarrassed, apart from my different genitalia, to show that I could not swim. Grandma’s lessons in swimming (in Swanage 1939) had given me a permanent fear of water up my nose.

The next term I was sent to a boys boarding prep school (Earlywood). It was not particularly academic by English standards but so different to the school I had attended in America at the back of the class and taking very little interest. There were little boys younger than I who were exchanging jokes in Latin and Greek, nor had I ever heard of algebra or French as subjects. My school days were dogged by inadequacy from then on. Holidays for years were spoilt by tutors trying to help me to catch up.

During the war my mother Lorna was living in a boarding house (Bryntirian) in Datchet, not that far from Cookham. As a doctor she had a reasonably generous petrol ration and I was invited over to share her grand room overlooking the large and delightful garden. The house was full of the Myers girls aged from 16 to 25 or so. All 3 were enchanted by Lorna. I regarded those weekends as heaven on earth. Lorna fed me a diet of literature, mainly beyond my comprehension but it developed my taste. Previously I had read a children’s version of Don Quixote as the only book, the rest were American comics. Lorna was more like an elder sister than a mother to me, that was entirely satisfactory as far as I am concerned. I suppose it added to the difference I felt from others doomed to submit to mothering.

Of the three Myers girls, Boobella, and Joyce remained very warm friends of Lorna’s for life. Cecily married a Roman painter so was not much in evidence, she taught me the correct pronunciation of ‘trattoria’ as a student visiting Rome. The Myers family were always a permanent glow in my life also. I did portraits of Joyce’s two elder children. Although there was food rationing in England for most of my adolescence I never went hungry at Datchet or Cookham. Nor felt deprived of sweets. At school I was known as the dustbin as I would eat the kippers and sausages that other boys had rejected.

At both Corfe and Cookham the family was joined by two German refugees Anja and Mitja her brother who was a compulsive artist at 14, we shared a room and so I saw all his output. Sadly he later became schizophrenic while serving in the American army. Anja I met many years later, she was very pretty. She had served as poultry maid to Grandma before I returned, she had joined her mother in USA more or less as Gavin and I crossed the Atlantic in return.

Before the war at Corfe we had all paraded in the forecourt while Grandma had conducted ‘physical jerks’ as they were then known, from the front step. Gavin broke his arm learning to ride a bike there; I learnt also sufficiently to be allowed on the very quiet road into Corfe accompanied by adults but it would seem I had not yet associated the brakes with slowing down so on the long downward slope into Corfe the bike gathered speed, I envisioned ending up in the moat of Corfe castle, lost my nerve and screamed. Fortunately I ended in the arms of two brave young lady hikers at the bottom – before the moat.

There was a farm next door belonging to the Marsh family, I used to drive about 20 of their cows home alone – they knew the way. Mr Marsh did the milking by hand, I watched. There was also a huge walled kitchen garden and a tennis court was under construction. Best of all was a stream to dam in the Marshes field; I spent many happy hours there. It was the memory of that stream that made me fall in love with the cottage at Stert. I returned to Glebe House aged 25 and recognised everything including the dark corridor in which I and others heard the announcement of war on the wireless.

Our parents used to come down to Corfe on occasional weekends. I remember an occasion when Grandma was teaching me to read, I could not get a word so Grandma sounded it out for me the old fashioned way w-h-i-m. I did not get it; so again - and again – and again, finally Grandma furious shouted ‘whim boy’ I asked whim what’s that? My parents witnessed the scene but did not intervene. Everyone was scared of Grandma!
I have almost no memory at all of my father at home in Wildwood Rise. I suppose he was busy making his career from 40 Harley Street. He was a cardiologist consultant at the London Jewish Hospital and the West London Hospital. He drove a Jaguar SS and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Physicians FRCP. My memory in Corfe was of him putting a whole digestive biscuit in his mouth to amuse me. I didn't see him again till I was 12. He was in the army as head of a hospital, lieutenant colonel; first in Egypt and then in Palestine. The Palestine experience made him a keen Zionist which he remained till the end of his life. Zionism was not then what it has become now; it was simply a desire for the Jews to have have a home base after the Holocaust. He gave a lot of time and money to the Hebrew University and they named a medical lecture theatre after him. Israel was an exciting ideal driven experiment in those days with its kibbutzim and high-minded government, it has changed. He visited and tried to learn Hebrew but with little success.

Before he returned from the war I was about 11 and 1/2 or 12 when I heard for the first time that I was half Jewish. I had known a Jew in America he wasn't quite like us, big, soft and took holidays when the rest of us were still at school. It came as quite a shock to realise I was one of them or nearly one of them.

When Geoffrey returned he and Lorna took a flat in Queensway which I don't think I ever visited but Lorna heard the oboist next door practising every day and liked the sound of it so I took up the oboe when I went to Radley. Wildwood Rise was still requisitioned by the army till 47. When I returned there I found that the black and white hall tiles I remembered as paving size were 12 X 12in.

I got to know Papa, I called him. ‘Daddy’ sounded too babyish at 12, well after the war he taught me to play tennis. He had been a great tennis player in his youth; captain of his hospital team (King's College Hospital) and a great wicket-keeper in cricket. As a schoolboy in The Westminster team he was spotted as a possible future wicket-keeper for England. I got to be a reasonably good game for him at tennis though I've never actually won a set. I did not inherit his eye. I am astigmatic so never hit the cricket ball well; my terrible bat developed a hole on the outside edge where I must have consistently hit.

Strangely he had been a rather slow schoolboy like myself, so we had that in common as well. I was undoubtedly his favourite child he was not that kind to either Gavin or Gemma. However, he was regarded by his female students as altogether charming. It came as quite a surprise to me when I heard from Stephen Cohn that one of his friends had been a male student of Geoffrey’s and he hated him.

He was regarded as very handsome. He had been studying chemistry to go into the leather business when he suddenly decided to move into medicine. It was pretty big of Rudolph to allow this to happen as he was the only remaining son. He had actually been on the quay in Dover waiting to go to France when armistice was declared. He became a well-known physician and was shortlisted to become the King's physician when the previous occupant died. He was really dedicated to his profession and was clearly very good particularly at diagnosis. I guess I inherited some of his genes and a splendid portion of his wealth. He made a habit of being late, sometimes as much as 3 hours late for appointments. I did not inherit that characteristic.

He was also a very talented amateur sculptor; he got rave reviews from the Medical Art Society exhibitions. He had done sculpture as a very young man in the studio of Wolmark. I have always admired his rather cubist portrait of Wolly himself. I don't know where that has got to but it was really good. He took up sculpture again when I became a student and his sculpture was much more modern than mine. I think it saddened him that I was so old fashioned. In fact when we were both in the same London Group exhibition Henry Moore came to see the exhibition and spent a long time assessing mine and when he came to Geoffrey’s he shook his head. My brother-in-law Yakov Segev happened to be in the exhibition and noted this. I often wondered whether Henry Moore had noticed that Geoffrey was a different Konstam to Nigel. Moore gave a prestigious prize to a more modern sculptor in the same exhibition.

In his late 50s Geoffrey spent a great deal of time in what had been Gavin's chemistry laboratory in Angermering making sculpture. He died young at 61 and so was never able to devote himself full-time to the art that he clearly loved.

Our cook at Wildwood, Katherine Fogarty and her son Clifford stayed an important part of the family long after Geoffrey died. He was particularly fond of Clifford.
Besides Rudolph and Alfred there was another brother Oscar who stayed in Germany and was regarded as the brains of the family. He was a famous psychologist in the time of Freud and with an equal reputation but alas died young of appendicitis. He had I think three sons one was killed in the First World War but Peter and Werner came to England in about 33 I guess. Peter was a surgeon and married Micha who was also a doctor who specialised in tuberculosis. Werner finished up driving a steam-roller near Durban. Peter became professor of surgery in Ibaden and when Nigeria decolonised he became surgeon on Orkney. During the war Peter and Micha were living far apart and were divorced. Micha always remained an important part of the Konstam family though no blood relative. She was the daughter of a doctoressa and her father a lawyer and though they were both Latvians Micha was brought up in Switzerland; she was the most thoroughly educated person I ever truly got to know. She spoke 4 European languages Russian, I presume a Latvian version, French, German, and English. She spent at least a year in Italy learning Italian in her retirement.

Although she wore her culture very lightly she could quote in ancient Greek and Latin and had a very very full knowledge of classical music. In her youth which I don't remember but I've seen photographs she was incredibly beautiful in a very spiritual kind of way and she always had a character which exactly matched. If she had a fault it was that she was attracted by egoists. And she was a dangerously cautious driver insofar as if she was driving along a street with pedestrians on the pavement and one of them walked towards the kerb she would brake on the assumption that they would walk out in front of her.

She was generous with her gifts of Records at Christmas and and introduced me to three of my most successful portraits – Klemperor, Manoug Parikian and Eddie May who was her second husband; the Klemperer portrait ended up in the the opera house in Munich the head of Eddie I don't really know where that got too but I was very proud of it.

Micha and Eddie used to give musical evenings at which Eddie would play with members of the Amadeus quartet we were often invited it was a wonderful experience. Eddie was an incredibly talented cellist but doctor by profession. Before he died he left Micha a real mess to clear up – he had just bought a whole house piled high with the previous owners life’s possessions and a new red sports car – his final fling. He knew his time was nearly up.

They had a remarkable visitors book in which most of the famous names in music, refugees from Hitler appeared. One of the most remarkable things about Micha was at the age of 80 + while reading Moliere on an underground platform in London she attracted a young Frenchman at least 40 years younger than she, they became a fast friend more or less for life (Alain Laraby), however, when he got married to his delightful Vietnamese wife Natalie Micha was tremendously jealous; most uncharacteristic. Micha left me in her will quite a handsome amount which I used to promote the new Rembrandt, that is the old Rembrandt restored. Alain became a valued friend of mine, he and Natalie came to VAC several times.

I hope I have remembered accurately all these persons and events of so long ago. Now for more personal memories.

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