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Lewis Baltz

I remember feeling upset waking from a dream in 2013 in which I had found out Lewis Baltz had cancer.  It was just a dream, no relation to fact as far as I knew and it had ended on a note of relief in that Baltz had turned up (in an airport, I think it was) and he was smiling and relaxed and well which made me very happy.

I was sent a link earlier today to a final interview, the intro revealing his death from cancer and emphesyma on November 22nd 2014.  Dreams are good practice runs but the surge of grief was difficult even so.  For a little while I could undestand why fans of silent-era film legend Rudolf Valentino supposedly took their own lives upon news of his death.

I would sometimes google to find a contact address for Baltz, despite not having anything to say to him but 'thank you' ...and... 'thank you' and, well, I didn't know what I'd have to say if I had found a contact email address for him, and maybe 'thank you' actually was enough.  But, as far as I know, there isn't an email addy out there, or if there is, I never managed to find it. In fact I was never even quite sure which country he lived in.  Possibly Italy.  Or France.  Or Switzerland.  Or maybe he had moved back to California.

When Mike Nichols ('The Graduate' director) died recently again I felt reminded of the need to contact Baltz somehow but, as previously, gave up after the usual dead end searching online got me nowhere.  I suppose as well as not knowing what coherent thing to say to him should I be able to get in touch I assumed  'oh he'll be around for ages yet'.  Fail. 

He donated his archive to the Getty Research Institute last year which had rung an alarm bell when I'd read that.  Why had he done that, was he unwell?  Was time running out and he wanted to find a way to secure his legacy?  I assumed it was my morbid streak reading too much into.  He was a late career artist, it was reasonable to organise the work, and presumably add to it. 

It's New Years' Eve, a few hours left in 2014.  Too late to say 'thank you' and 'thank you' again.