A very dear person in my life died Sunday morning.
When I was caring for Maria Altmann in 2010 I told her I wanted to visit New York to see her Aunt Adele immortalized in the Gold Portrait. Her eyes, as they always did for even the slightest sliver of good news, widened with zeal: "I want you to stay with my cousin Ruth." She got right on her old wall phone from the 1970's that somehow still worked perfectly, and five minutes later I had a place to stay smack dab in the middle of Manhattan where the lights are bright and it all seems right.
Ruth was 92 at the time, and we had an incredible weekend of tea, food shopping, and museum-ing. After that visit, every time I would come to New York I would stay with Ruth, and we would go on our little walks to Bryant Park and talk about everything from her father-in-law Bernhard Altmann of Bernhard Altmann Cashmere Sweaters, to her biological father Arnold Karplus, to her monthly travels to the Hamptons to paint. Both Maria and Ruth fled Austria in 1938, just days after the Anschluss. Maria eventually landed in Los Angeles, Ruth in New York.
On Sunday, October 11, at 97 years old, Ruth Rogers-Altmann passed peacefully, fitting for a lady who spent her whole life bringing peace to others... through her elegant congeniality and her uniquely vibrant paintings.
I'm so fortunate to have known you, Ruth, and will never forget our times together in the greatest city on earth. All my love. -G