I tell you, there really is no fire down here. Everybody brings his own fire with him when he comes. - Sufism
"A Heart of Darkness" Aladar Marburger
The whole four months Barbara was my guest at the Cite des Arts Aladar was petitioning her return to New York. They were friends already from Philadelphia and continued to be at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. There they both attached themselves to Elaine who was a visiting professor. Through Elaine, Aladar secured Marilyn Fischbach's belief that he could take over the reigns of her gallery even though he was a youngster. Actually, Aladar was never a youngster except in years . He was born as aged as any phantom coming from hell could be. He was sharp, ambitious, and towards me he carried a grudge.
In 1967 I was still in Pittsburgh when Barbara introduced us. I was four years older than they and somewhat of a legend at Tech as I had two exhibitions their freshmen year in the campus's most prominent place of meeting, Skybo Hall where in the fall I showed “Ship of Fool's”, “Six Characters in Search”, “The Jewess Taken in Adultery”, and “Rose of Washington Square”, and in February “The Oratory Mural”.
I remember meeting him when Barbara and I crossed his path. Even then I could see something crossing his mind that was disturbing. It had a quality of disbelief and then outrage that I didn't know who he was already- that I didn't recognize his importance. I had my own demons and preoccupations, but I know I was in no way impolite to him as we all met going around a revolving doorway.
But something in him needed to prove something to me, needed to let me know that he was far more important than I would ever be; that some day I would be sorry for that slight; that someday I would come begging him. For what I don't know, by the time I returned from Paris in the spring of 1971 he was running Fischbach Gallery, which was still situated grandly in the Fischbach Building on fifty Seventh Street. He knew I would die for a show there, and he also knew that he would never give me one till Hell froze over! However, in 1976 after “Carnegie Mellon Alumni in New York” where I showed “Luke” I felt more confident and offered to do a portrait of Aladar in grattage. He seemed delighted, saying that he always admired my portraits. For the first time in years I was hopeful. I said that I regretted the distance between us, and that maybe the portrait would make amends.