Several people have asked: What finally spurred you to visit Vienna this June?
Good question. I’ve been wanting to go for more than 2½ years, ever since I found out about the connection between my great uncle, Siegmund Kornmehl, and Vienna’s Sigmund Freud Museum, but had been dragging my heels. Money, ambivalence, pet care…I always had an excuse not to go. With the need for pet care sadly eliminated last November, the other issues seemed less difficult to overcome.
But I have Aurelia Young and her talk in Vienna on June 6 to thank for finally getting off my duff to arrange a trip.
Churchill and Freud and Dogs, Oh My!
How she and I e-met is a bit of a shaggy dog story, which I told in some detail on a previous post, Oscar Nemon: Sculptor of Freud & His Canine Circle. Young is the daughter of Oscar Nemon, a Jewish Croatian sculptor who should be (but isn’t) a household name: Some of the world’s most eminent people, from Charles Lindbergh to the current Queen of England, were among his subjects. He is most often remembered, however, for his representations of, and close relationships with, Winston Churchill and Sigmund Freud. Because Nemon was extremely prolific, Young is on a mission to locate several lost works, a pursuit that led her to this blog. Oddly enough, the name that caught her eye was not Freud, but Richard Tauber, an opera singer who turned up in a post about anti-semitism in Vienna.
We began to correspond. I was fascinated by Nemon, a slight, unprepossessing man who managed to charm and earn the respect of everyone he met, and decided to write about him and Freud–only it somehow turned into a post about how Nemon sculpted the dogs in Freud’s circle. Surprise. But, because I eventually did intend to write about Freud and Nemon, and because we found a lot to say to each other, the correspondence continued.
And when, in March, Young was asked to speak about her father and the father of psychoanalysis at Vienna’s Sigmund Freud Museum, I decided I really wanted to be there.
It didn’t hurt that June is a beautiful month to visit Vienna.
And a Little Night Music
So on June 6, at 7pm, I will be sitting in my great uncle’s former butcher shop, at 19 Berggasse, where:
Lady Aurelia Young will give an illustrated talk in English about her father, the sculptor Oscar Nemon. The talk will cover how Nemon came to sculpt Sigmund Freud; the growing friendship between the two men and his portraits of Freud’s disciples. These include Princess Marie Bonaparte, Sandor Ferenczi, Ernest Jones, Paul Federn and Melanie Klein….Nemon believed that the vocations of the portrait sculptor and analyst were closely allied. In his portrait of Freud and other analysts he sought to create studies which are informed by, but travel beyond, the sitter’s published works and public personae to challenge the viewer to see them in a new light.
Aurelia Young’s talk will be followed by a performance of music by Hannah Medlam (Soprano) Lukas Medlam (Violin) and Jean-Michel Dayez(Piano).
The music has been chosen to reflect various aspects of Nemon’s life with works by Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill, Fritz Kreisler, Hugo Wolf and Gustav Mahler.
And do let me know when you see me that you read about the event here. Just ask around for Siegmund Kornmehl’s niece.
Note: The image next to this post’s title is a wooden bust of Freud, one of three that Nemon made in different media and the one Freud chose to keep in his office. It moved with him to London, where it is now in that city’s Freud Museum. You can buy a resin version–and reproductions of other Freud sculptures--from the Oscar Nemon site.