Alec Stern

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Alec Stern Empty Alec Stern

Post by Taylor Thomas February 3rd 2011, 7:52 pm

I have just got my hands on a couple of Alec Stern drawings ......Heres one of them.
Alec Stern CIMG4289

Some information from his grandson

My grandfather was born in NY around 1903, the son of Hungarian immigrants. His family drove across country and settled in San Francisco in time for the Quake of '06. He was just old enough to experience the quake; in the 1980s, at one of the annual reunions of quake survivors, he recognized the woman fleeing through the foreground of one of the sepia slides projected on the wall as his mother. He regaled me, as young boy, with stories of playing hookey from school to sneak into the 1915 World's Fair at the Palace of Fine Arts. When he was caught lifting a loose fence board one day and brought back to school, the principal heard him out and declared: "this discussion never happened. You're getting a better education there than here." Tuck-in time whenever we drove up to San Mateo to visit my grandfather included a good half-hour of storytelling, which he spun extemporaneously, and was never less than fasctinating...usually involving images of that World's Fair and the adventures of a boy named Ernie. Regrettably I've inherited none of his artistic genes (although I wasn't yet resigned to that fact when I experimented with the edge of a quarter, all over his guest-room wall, around age 9), but growing up I looked to him as a role model of patience, wisdom and humaneness. (The scolding I feared from him over the quarter-art never came). A visit to his studio was a step back 50 or 60 years in time. I recall nothing automated about it (of course, this was only the mid-70s), but vividly recall the collection of old printing presses--some of them still productive--the illuminated workdesk with its huge, spring-armed magnifying glass, the back-lit slides of San Franciscan buildings and scenery from which he drew his etchings, his ink-darkened, labor-toughened fingers, the smell of ink in the air, and the sound of the bell that would announce the opening of the oversize pink door, and welcome anyone who cared to come in and browse the studio and see him at work. His faithful secretary for many (40?) years, Gwen, I believe was awarded the copyrights to his work.

OK, I'll spare you all any further ramblings that I can see are tending more toward the mawkish than the informative, and contact my aunt, who is the repository for family history, and better positioned than anyone else to tell you about her father. Alec Stern (whose name was sometimes morphed into "Alex"... easy mistake to make, with the first letter of his last name being an "s"...) was very active in the San Franciso area Jewish community in the latter part of his life. He died in the early 1990s after some long illnesses.

He was a great man. Sometimes stubborn and not always easy. But if you hear speak of any very impressive qualities or achievements, it's a safe bet they're not exaggerated.

Willy Stern
Taylor Thomas
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Alec Stern Empty Re: Alec Stern

Post by skay February 4th 2011, 10:27 am

Very interesting TT, thanks for sharing the story with us Happy

xx
skay
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