Archive for December, 2021

Herta Lager Kane

December 29, 2021



Edited by Billy Bussell Thompson



Herta Lager Kane (1928-2021) was born in Vienna.  With her family, she came to New York City in 1941–via Switzerland–fleeing Nazi persecution.

Herta began her education at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, School of Art and Architecture, before obtaining a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and an M.F.A. in Painting from the University at Buffalo.  

Photo provided by Herta’s daughter Vivien Kane

Herta began her career as an adjunct professor of Painting in the University at Buffalo, and then spent most of her life as an associate professor of graphic design in the State University College at Buffalo. Herta’s paintings on the plasticity of geometric abstractions as well as her refined constructivist drawings have been exhibited at Buffalo’s Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, and various alternative local cooperatives dedicated to video research and development for theater and television.

In her work Herta searched for a new direction in the depiction of pictorial space, resulting from the great legacy of our mentor Seymour Drumlevitch. In her own words, Herta aspired to arrive at the power “… of a mystical ambiguity and elusiveness.”



An Elegy


  Herta always had a generous warmth for and a profound insight into humanity.  Even when we were most fragile, in our moments of trouble, we did not have to say much to assure each other that everything would be fine; even in silence, we supported one another with a sense of wonderment, at times even with great humor.

From the time when I first met Herta in 1975, as a painting instructor in the University at Buffalo, she shared her wealth of knowledge and always provided encouragement.  She looked after my well-being until she was no longer able.  Our friendship attested to the fact that no one has control over his destiny, though our love persisted beyond such boundaries.

Herta’s confidence—in the labors of becoming a visual artist and surviving the myriad uncertainties of a professional career—enabled my finding answers to managing whatever fate provided.

Her humanity, dignity, and intelligence were a fountain of inspiration for all of us, who had the good fortune of knowing her.  More than a mentor Herta became a loving and loyal friend.  No one else could fill her place in my heart.  

Herta and I had strong bonds.  I owe her my standing, not only emotional maturity but also my intellectual development.  Without her, I would be different; to her I owe the inspiration of authenticity and thoughtfulness.





In Memoriam Herta Lager Kane




       Fate and chance drew out of our tears a smile 
and brought solace to our failures;
then we looked up after we'd sunk
with the confidence 
of climbing back.

       In loneliness
we found for ourselves company,
and in helping others, we were helped.
In our pursuit of the impossible good,
we came to know our failures.

       In the brevity of each moment,
nothing seemed to fit for being possessed;
when we marveled at the great arc of time,
this never died,
even in the absence of hope.
       The ups and downs from the goddesses, the three Moirai and Tyche,
 in their dispensation of favors and troubles,
 couldn’t keep us from moving on,
 even if we met each other and were
 hopelessly aware of our imperfections.


Ricardo F Morin, December 29, 2021, coauthored by Billy Bussell Thompson




Herta’s Art


Herta Kane, American artist born in Austria (1928-2021), Painting entitled “Untitled”, c. 1980, Acrylic on Canvas, diptych, 49 5/8 7/8″ x 50″, Gift of the artist to the Burchfield Penny Art Center Collection 2002


Herta Kane, American artist born in Austria (1928-2021), Painting entitled “Untitled”, c. 1980, Acrylic on Canvas, diptych, 57 7/8″ x 37 5/8″, Gift of the artist to the Burchfield Penny Art Center Collection, 2002.


Herta Kane, American artist born in Austria (1928-2021), work on paper entitled “Untitled”, Acrylic and collage on paper, 10 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. Gift of the Arts Development Services, Inc., 1978 to the Burchfield Penny Arts Center Collection, 1978.


Herta Lager-Kane (1928-2021) American artist born in Austria, work on paper, “Untitled”, 1978; acrylic and felt tip pen on drafting paper, 10″ x 21″, Gift of the Arts Development Services, Inc., 1978.

Wislawa Szymborska

December 19, 2021

Words are symbols not necessarily truthful. We endow them with meaning in order to appease our bewilderment before aspects of reality we cannot fully comprehend.
That is perhaps what makes our human consciousness so very fragile.

Wisława Szymborska, (born July 2, 1923 in Bnin [now part of Kórnik], Poland; died February 1, 2012 in Krakow), Polish poet, whose intelligent and empathetic explorations of philosophical, moral, and ethical questions earned her the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996.

In memoriam Herta Lager Kane.

A Few Words About The Soul 1

   We have a soul from time to time. 
Nobody has her all the time,
nor possesses her forever.

Day after day,
year after year,
may go by without her.

Sometimes she nests in us for a while,
in the fears and raptures of childhood,
and sometimes at our surprise of being old.

Rarely does she lend us a hand
with routine tasks,
moving furniture,
or baggage,
or walking miles in shoes that don't fit.

She runs away
when meat is to be ground,
and hopes are to be met.

Out of every thousand talks
she'll take part in one,
if at that.
She likes silence.
When one’s entrails go from dull to intense pain
she gives up.

She is choosy:
she doesn't like us in crowds.
Our desires to get ahead and
hustling for advantage make her sick.

For her, joy and sorrow
are not opposites.
She is within us
in the union of both.

We count on her
when we're sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

The things she likes are
mirrored clocks with pendulums
working all the while,
even when no one looks at them.

She doesn't say whence she comes
nor when she'll leave again,
even tough she is waiting for these questions.

For some reason
we need her,
and she needs us just as well.


1: Poem written by Wislawa Szymborska: published July 1, 2000, original translation from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Claire Cavanagh in 2006, transposed into Spanish and English by Ricardo Morin and Billy Bussell Thompson, December 2021.

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