This family’s story starts in Nazi-occupied Paris, where an ancestor’s portrait was prominently displayed in the family apartment. An evening raid by Nazi soldiers caused the apartment to be literally sprayed by machine gun fire – ripping holes in any number of possessions – including this stately gentleman’s portrait. Soon after, the family fled the City of Lights for safer environs in a number of countries, taking only a few of their most cherished possessions with them. One such possession was the Portrait, presumably to preserve some of the family heritage in the event that they never returned to their home in Paris.
After the War, the family was able to return to their home, and promptly hung the Portrait back in it’s place of prominence. Now, generations later, a great nephew who had been intrigued by the portrait’s history during his visits to the Paris homestead as a youth, has come to possess it, adding it to his list of cherished family artifacts.
His challenge to us was to stabilize the frame, which had been neglected for years and was no longer capable of holding the painting, while still preserving the “story” of the piece – in other words, “keep the bullet holes”. A new gold lip was installed where the canvas meets the frame, and the painting was then reinstalled, ready to find it’s new place of prominence. And so the “story” continues.
While this family’s story has a bit of intrigue that might set it apart from the rest of ours, the take-away needs to be that we all have a story, and that story can be told by displaying objects and images passed down from one generation to the next. It only takes a little imagination and the desire to be the one that takes the initiative to keep that story going.