- Gast, 1 Hug MundingerIch bin auf der ansonsten eher peinlichen Seite der kunst.ag auf die Bilder eines bemerkenswerten Malers gestoßen. Und dann auf diese biographische Skizze eines Doktoranden, der den Maler, Hug Mundinger, in seinen letzten Lebensjahren kennenlernte:
"Hugo Karl Mundinger
July 20, 1925 - April 5, 2005
Yesterday's anecdote about my time in Tübingen reminded me of how quickly time moves along, and today's websearch for an old friend, Hug Mundinger, confirms it.
I met Hug Mundinger about 15 years ago through Tübingen's German-American Institute ... indirectly. The director of the English program had been tutoring him in English but had too many responsibilities and so asked if I were willing to take over for her.
"Hug Mundinger?" I echoed. "Who's that?"
"He's an artist," she said.
"Why is he called 'Hug'?" I asked, figuring it was a nickname.
"His name's really Hugo," she explained, "but he's a very warm person and wants to express this by his name."
"Oh ... great," I muttered, thinking that I had him pegged, but I agreed to take him on as a private student. I got directions to the Künstlerbund, which means "Artists' Association," crossed the Neckar River, and wound my way to an old part of Tübingen down from the central marketplace.
There, I found the Künstlerbund ... locked. So, I waited ... and waited ... and waited. I was beginning to reconsider my agreement to tutor this artist, given his apparently rather 'creative' approach to making an appointment, when the door unlocked and an old man appeared before me, somewhat shabbily dressed in rough, grey clothes.
"Come," he said, motioning me within. "I am Hug Mundinger."
I especially recall his motioning me to enter, for his right hand was missing ... as was his left. And I soon observed that he also had a glass eye.
I entered and began teaching him English.
Only weeks later, when I knew him better, did I feel comfortable enough to ask him how he had lost his hands and eye. He told me that he had been a young soldier in World War II and that a grenade had landed and exploded in front of him. When he regained consciousness some minutes later, his hands were missing, and his eye was hanging out of its socket.
American soldiers found him and put him in a military hospital for treatment. During his recovery, he made the decision not to give up his dream of becoming an artist, so he practiced his drawing by holding a pencil tightly between his two wrists and sketching that way.
"But how do you perceive dimensions?" I asked him. "Isn't everything flat with just one eye?"
"I stand like this," he explained, standing in one place, "then like this," he added, having shifted himself slightly to one side.
He had taught himself to see in perspective by using his one eye to look at the same object twice, from two different positions -- something that the rest of us do automatically by virtue of our two sound eyes.
He was an amazing character, and I taught him English until 1995, when I finally finished my doctoral research and abandoned Germany for different lands and other adventures, but exceedingly sorry to leave this fascinating man behind.
Now, he's gone, for over a year already, and I have only a few samples of his work and these few memories...
Rest in peace, Hug.
posted by Horace Jeffery Hodges
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