The inimitable Mary Abbott was born in 1921 – long before women were encouraged to express themselves.
Low and behold, this marvelously talented lady – and she was very much a lady to the very end – took self expression to a level which brought Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, William de Kooning to her table.
In fact the renown William de Kooning was Mary Abbott’s neighbor and a best friend.
Mary Abbott and de Kooning would sit in the back yard, behind Mary’s studio and watch the bird feeder and chat. De Kooning once pulled Jackson Pollock off young Mary Abbott when Pollock in a drunken stupor physically pulled her to the ground attempting to molest her.
As dedicated to her craft of Expressionism as was her forefather – President John Adams – to the development of our great American nation – Mary Abbott will become a powerhouse of Expressionism, an inspiration to future painters and to women all over the world.
My wife, (former model, Pamela Berkin) and I were honored to be invited to Mary Abbott’s 98th birthday party this summer.
While chatting with Mary, she was telling the story about the time she met Ernest Hemingway in a Paris bistro after the war and how she could feel his eyes on her neck. A sculpture artist sitting across the table asked if I was a writer. I said yes and the lady then asked my name.
“Antil”, I said. “I go by Jerome Mark Antil”.
“I have an Antil,” Mary Abbott said with a smile.
As we left the party, I asked a Mary Abbott assistant if it was true about Mary Abbott having my work. She led be to a bookshelf where my The Long Stem Is In The Lobby by Jerome Mark Antil leaned proudly against other books.
God speed, Mary Abbott. You will always be in our hearts – – and your work will be a backdrop to decorate the world with color, grace and inspiration you espouse. Thank you for the honor of meeting you over suppers and conversations and thank you for the pleasure of inviting us to your home to celebrate your birthday. Thank you for teaching me what true greatness, humility and grace all have in common, by your example.
I speak for both Pamela and myself – our hearts go with you.
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