Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Remembering Andrew

My uncle Andrew died this past Spring (March 2011). He was a teacher, a painter and a great man. Here are just a few highlights of the long list of fond memories I have of my uncle.

I only took one class with Andrew while at the University of Miami. It was a painting class. He was very encouraging and a little bit inspirational. He gave me a B. I never questioned it. I thought it fair enough. But my Mom wanted to know why Andrew gave her son a B in painting. Andrew explained that I was unable to recognize a painting by Raoul Dufy. Andrew did suggest that the students in his class should be familiar with a short list of important artists. To this day, when I see a Dufy on a visit to an art museum I smile and think of Andrew. (Usually I’m not sure it is a Dufy, until I read the museum placard.)

South Truro and Two Fine Horses – Two pieces of Andrew’s art hang proudly in my home. South Truro is a sort of abstract/expressionist painting, a landscape from his time in the New England area. Two Fine Horses is black India ink drawing on paper of two horses in a trailer. (That picture hung in the Andrew Morgan kitchen in Miami. When I told Andrew how I admired the simple lines of that composition – he gave it to me.) Both works feature a vintage Andrew signature from 1955 (The year I was born).

Go Hurricanes – I became the beneficiary of that extra ticket when Dahlia decided to give her’s up. Andrew loved the Canes and I loved driving to the Orange Bowl with him. Andrew loved sharing the games with my parents too. Doing the Macarena in the warm sun and watching Ray Lewis reek havock on the offense. It doesn’t get much better than that. I was with Andrew the day the Orange Bowl home winning streak ended against Washington. I am so glad I got that additional time with Andrew and my parents in 1994-95. It was before Miami joined the ACC and before the demolition of the Orange Bowl.

Mowing the Lawn in Miami – I had the pleasure of mowing the lawn from time to time for Andrew and Dahlia. Florida landscaping is never easy. Mangoes, Oranges, palm fronds and more. I loved every second of it though.

Yearbook – I was associate editor of the Ibis Yearbook my senior year. One of my favorite pages in that 1977-78 edition features three dynamic shots of Andrew in action. The student photographer was able to capture the essence of Andrew’s dramatic gestures. On film it is almost as if he could vanish with a wave of his hand. And so he has. (page 116 University of Miami Ibis yearbook - photo above)

Bragging about my uncle – “You know my uncle was President of the Kansas City Art Institute for ten years before the University of Miami offered him an opportunity to head the art department in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida in the early 1970’s.” I’m glad he accepted that opportunity, because by the time Richard Nixon resigned from office over the Watergate cover up, I was checking into Mahoney Hall with my brother Greg at the University of Miami. (I can almost hear Joe Cocker blasting out of our 8-track player now, “She came in through the bathroom window, protected by a silver spoon….”) I ended up at the “U” because of Andrew as much as any other reason. That is a decision I will never regret! (It’s very cold in Syracuse, you know.)

Raoul Dufy (3 June 1877 – 23 March 1953) was a French Fauvist painter. He developed a colorful, decorative style that became fashionable for designs of ceramics and textiles, as well as decorative schemes for public buildings. He is noted for scenes of open-air social events. He was also a draftsman, printmaker, book illustrator, a theatrical set-dresser, a designer of furniture, and a planner of public spaces.

Miami Hurricanes - Between 1985 and 1994, Miami won an astounding 58 straight games at home, breaking the record for the longest home winning streak previously held by Alabama, which won 57 straight at home between 1963 and 1982.

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