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P U B L I C A T I O N S  >  R E M I N I S C E N C E S

bullet Preface
bullet Foreword
bullet Grandfather     Dictated by Ary
bullet The Village     Dictated by Ary
bullet Supplement to the Village
bullet Vilna     Dictated by Ary
bullet Supplemet to Vilna
bullet Coming to the United States     Dictated by Ary
bullet Back of the Store     Dictated by Ary
bullet Omaha     Dictated by Ary
bullet Ary in New York - 1919
bullet Ary in Paris
bullet Ary Comes Back to the United States
bullet Ary's Marriage
bullet Summer Cottage in Harmon
bullet The Studio on Fifty-Ninth Street
bullet We Return to Paris
bullet Cuernavaca-Houston
bullet Ary and Music
bullet Ary and the English Language
bullet Ary Stillman - Thoughts on Painting

Omaha (1908)
Dictated by Ary

After I had been in Sioux City a little while my uncle decided that I would have more opportunity in Omaha, where cousins of the family were fairly well established in business. So I was given a ticket (the sum duly recorded with the steamer passage!) and I was sent on my way. The cousins were not entirely cordial in their welcome; the influx of new arrivals from Europe was wearing thin their hospitality and their finances. But a place was made for me in the bedroom of the younger children and I was told I might stay there until I found work. Several days tramping about the city brought no results; boys with little knowledge of the language and the customs were not in demand. Finally the family triumphantly produced a solution. I wanted to be an artist — well, here was my opportunity. At that time there was a vogue for colored photographs — the black and white image touched up with color. A photographer had need of someone to help him in this work. It was a good business and I would eventually be able to make photographs and color them on my own. So I was taken to the photographer, and he consented to take me on trial.

He showed me a pile of photographs and told me to color the cheeks pink. I looked them over; they were mostly portly dowagers. My soul revolted — this was a mockery of art; I could not lend myself to it. When a customer came in and the photographer was busy with him I put the pile of photographs back, and stole out of the shop. All day long I wandered about the streets, a stone weighing on my heart, tears close to my eyes. I dared not return to my cousins’ house; they would be angry at me; how could a penniless immigrant refuse the opportunity they had found for me. But I was determined, and then and there I decided that I would never do anything that would violate my ideals of art. I would go back to Sioux City, find a job — any job — I would paint in my spare time, and sometime, in a year — 5 years — 10 years — when I had saved enough money, I would say goodbye to this world of business and seek a place where I could live only for painting.

It was late at night when I softly opened the door of my cousins' house and crept up the stairs, to stretch myself out on the bed for a few brief hours of sleep. Then up early in the morning to pack my few belongings, and leaving a note on the dining room table, to walk out of the house and to the railroad station, to take the first train back to Sioux City.

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