Letters to the Portland Editor, November 6, 2009
I just finished reading the piece Ken Greenleaf wrote about my dear friend of blessed memory, Bob Solotaire (see “People, Unhid”). It’s beautifully written. You truly captured his spirit. How sad it makes us — his old pals — to know how much he would have been moved by it. Bob and I were freshmen and roommates at Bard College in 1948, and stayed close friends ever since. I have the second painting he ever did and of course paintings from most of the years between then and now. How right you are! Bob loved NYC like no buddy I ever knew. We purchased one of his last paintings, “Astroland.” It’s big, and all of him is in it. But then again all of him is in our entire collection of Solotaires.
My wife Barbara and our fellow ex-Bardian Sherman Yellen and I have been deeply touched by your true insight into who Bob was. Your end paragraph: “This understated presence of humanity . . .” That is good writing. Damn good! Your understanding of why career success eluded him is right on. Robert was too sweet, too human, and too innocent for them! Fuck ’em — the work exists, and it is the best of who we all are!
I’m pushing 80 and it’s like being in a war zone. I’ve had to accept death as part of our life, but as dear friends go I have found that they are not completely gone. Bob is alive in whatever I am. I think of him often, and it always brings a warm smile to my face. We did have a hell of a ride, fascinating, fun, and loving. I thank you with all whoever I am.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
, Painting, Visual Arts, Bard College, More