Monday, January 5, 2015

Channeling Dad's Cousin Chichín

Antonia and Chichín in the 1950s
 My father's cousin Rubén Benítez Heyneh ("Chichín") was a painter and university professor in Uruguay. His wife, Antonia Jordá, was also an artist. Before we came to the US, my family used to visit Chichín and Antonia and their two kids often. I have fond memories of the fun we children had running around their back yard, unbothered by adults. One thing that fascinated me was the wood-burning kiln that Antonia had in a shed in the back. 
Car headlights on a dark, rainy street, or moon over the water?

On a trip back to Uruguay in the early 1960s, we visited them again and Chichín showed my parents his sketch book and some of the paintings he was working on. He gave my parents a beautiful black, white and blue abstract painting, which now sits in my younger brother's house in St. Louis. 

by Rubén Benítez
I was a rather shy young teen then (14 years old), but could not contain my excitement looking at Chichín's work. I finally ventured to say that I really liked a particular abstract work. Chichín asked me what I thought it represented and, without any hesitation, I told him that it was the headlights of a car on a dark, rainy street. He thought that was a good enough answer (although his inspiration had been the moon over the water at night), and gave me the painting. It is one of my most precious posessions.

Chichín's painting has found its way to some of my recent pots:

1 comment:

Andi said...

I love it. I don't think I ever knew the story behind that painting. It sure is another link to the artistry in our family. Love.