TRIBUTE TO JIMMY ERNST
by Kurt Vonnegut
This is about Jimmy Ernst, born in 1920 in Germany
- our dear friend the painter and writer, who was killed instantly by
a stroke on February 6th, 1984. He was at the peak of his powers, and
of his happiness, too, by all outward signs. His stunning autobiography
had just been published...
...I will say a word about his father. Max Ernst
was surely the most famous artist in any field to sire a member of the
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. To reverse that
equation: Jimmy Ernst is the only son of a great artist, that I can
think of anyway, who reached for greatness in the self-same art.
...I am not entitled to say what his best painting
was, although I have my favorite - a triptych, black on black, executed
so meticulously that the paint might have been laid on by a jeweler
using a magnifying glass.
I will dare to say that his spiritual masterpiece was to live without
hating anyone - to forgive no one, since there was no one to forgive.