Pam and I got to know Fritz and Alix better than we know some of our friends. We picked through family albums of early photos, heard the stories of paintings and listened to what it was like in the art scene in the 50s and 60s in the Bay Area.
Fritz is gone now, he died at age 92. Pam keeps up with Alix and goes to Marin from time to time to have lunch with her, this year will be her 90th.
Everyday for 45 days I went to Fritz’s studio and filmed him working on one painting. From cutting the canvas to signing his name, I was there for every brush stroke. I wanted to observe and document the entire process. This footage would be the basis from which we would edit the documentary.
Fritz taught me without conscious effort. I learned that the war that defined his life, the second World War, was not as simple as I had been brought up to believe in post war California. Not all the Germans were goose-stepping Nazis and not all the Japanese were buck-toothed fanatics. Fritz was the son of a labor organizer who had to hide from the Nazis and who was drafted into the army and went off to serve his country.
More than anything else, Fritz was an artist, a painter. He never painted for the money, though he relished in selling his works. His first solo exhibition was at the De Young museum in San Francisco in 1956, just two years after coming to America. His wife and love of his life, Alix, brought him to California where they transplanted their roots to start a new life. She was from a family of artists.
Available on DVD from Amazon. 52 minutes.