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June 20, 2003 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-20

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Germany and their institutions, proved
to be Davis' life-defining moment.
Abandoning his art fellowship, he joined
like-minded men in Madrid to battle
another government fascist, Spain's
Francisco Franco. Davis was wounded.
During the McCarthy era (late
1940s-early 1950s), Davis organized
Mexican-American workers in Denver.
His refusal to answer grand jury ques-
tions landed him in a federal "behav-
ior-modification prison."
Upon winning his release, the politi-
cal refugee built a new identity as
Stephen Paul Davis, or Steve Davis.
He later chose Pablo Davis, adopting
his maternal grandfather's first name.
Making his way to Detroit, "Steve
Davis" won a gold medal for his first
painting, Brotherhood— three girls and
a dog — in the DINs annual show of
1953. The museum sold the work to a
noted local contemporary art collector.
"When [Mrs. Sucher] got the paint-
ing, she invited me to her magnificent
Georgian home in Palmer Park," Davis
recalled. "She wanted me to see that
she'd hung my picture over her mantel-
piece, in the place of honor."
Promoter Sam Field
gave Davis an opportu-
nity to sketch and
show his work at vari-
ous venues, including
Temple Israel.
"That's how I
began to meet well-
to-do people and got
back into portrai-
Pablo Davis
ture," Davis said.
Though he never kept records, he
said Jewish clients included Joe
Feldman, president of Empire Steel;
dentist Dr. Sidney Barak; Sylvia
Ellman, whose family was in leather
manufacturing; Dollie Rotenberg,
owner of the Grand Hotel in Highland
Park; the Rose Jewelers family; and
attorney Mark Simon, a father of 12.
"I did a portrait of him and each
child," Davis said.
Married three times, the artist's own
family includes six children and four
• Davis said his work reflects an emo-
tional connection to the people he paints.
"I try to bring out their character, -
show their life. That's the tradition of
good portrait painting, and one reason
people gravitated toward me." ❑

In an effort to catalogue his life's
work, those aware of paintings by
Pablo Davis, under any of his
names, are requested to call Kate
Brown at (586) 468-8118.

SUMMER READING from page 73

entation in which Kerouac would
read his poems and Amram would
improvise accompanying music.
Their friendship flourished, and
this autobiographical memoir is a lov-
ing description of their relationship,
which lasted until Kerouac died in
The book is filled with entertaining
anecdotes and unusual characters,
some of whom, such as painter Larry
Rivers and poet Allen Ginsberg,
achieved fame in their own right.
One amusing story tells about the
making of the film Pull My Daisy, in
which Amram's jazz and chamber
music were combined with Kerouac's
There are frequent references to the
intersection of Amram's Jewish back-
ground and Kerouac's French-
Canadian origins.
Also discussed are Amram's orches-
tral compositions, his cantatas and
chamber music pieces, many of them
influenced by Kerouac.
As their careers flourished, Amram
and Kerouac each traveled a good
deal and lived in different places, but
they always managed to keep in
Perhaps the most poignant tale that
Amram tells recounts his final tele-
phone conversation with Kerouac a
few weeks before his death.
They sang together, and Kerouac
urged Amram to compose a sympho-
ny based on On the Road. When
Amram received word that Kerouac
had died, he said Kaddish and wrote
a moving memorial tribute, published
in the Evergreen Review and included
in this book.
Amram maintained his interest in
Kerouac, composing music for some
excerpts from On the Road.
He also participated in establishing
a writer's residence in Kerouac's
honor,-.located in Orlando, Fla., where
Kerouac lived for a time. He appears
regularly at- the annual tributes to
Kerouac that are held in the late
writer's hometown of Lowell, Mass.
When it comes to Kerouac,. Amram
considers himself to be a "keeper of
the flame."
This fine book makes a powerful
contribution towards his objective of
preserving the memory of Jack
Kerouac and commemorating his life.
— Morton I. Teicher

Many of the titles included in our
Summer Reading package are available
through www.jevvish.com .

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