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Personal Rhythms
by Fritz Trautmann

"Galaxy" (1942)
by Fritz Trautmann
Oil on canvas
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

"The painting I call 'Galaxy', while made as a sort of chart to aid in the teaching of color dynamics, symbolizes the great truth that every phenomenon in life involves all of life that nothing in this world can exist or act by itself alone." - Fritz Trautmann

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When man feels his own personal rhythms vibrating in tune with the forces playing upon him, he calls the experience "Beauty."

It may happen on the plane of the senses, on the level of the intellect, in the depths of his affections, or at the exalted heights of spiritual insight, but wherever met and however designated, it is - of its kind - a response to this sense of beauty.

As sensory experience - described as savory or delicious, handsome or pretty, harmonious or melodic, soothing, exhilarating, aromatic or fragrant - it is Pleasure.

To the intellect - when it is consistent, functional or logical it is Truth.

To the heart - when sympathetic, compassionate or loyal it is Love.

To the soul - when masterful, efficient or wise it is Goodness or God.

Yet the experience of Beauty cannot be so simply analyzed. It is a composite reaction which pervades the whole being for, whether he is conscious or it or not, man's faculties are continually reacting one upon another so that we must of necessity function simultaneously at every level of consciousness, from lower to higher, from outer to inner.

So Beauty, for any one man, is his total and instantaneous reaction to a variety of influences which unite for the moment, to fulfill his desire, or corroborate his faith. That is why Beauty never comes quite the same for any man, why that which he deemed beautiful yesterday he may not find so tomorrow, and why that which is inspiration for one many may leave another indifferent. Beauty varies as man varies. The reason he so frequently finds his experience in approximate agreement with the experience of others is that there is a natural fellowship in the matter of personal rhythms among men of sound body and mind. - 1930

Author Notes: This is a passage that Fritz had given me in the summer of 1970 and that has laid buried in a box of stuff since then. In a recent effort to clean up my studio I came across a box of photos and other goodies from my last year in school that contained this text. Since there is little or nothing of Fritz's thoughts or work online I thought it would be nice to create this page for Fritz so you could share this and so that other folks looking for Fritz might actually find something of value. Most of Fritz's writings and estate ended stored at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY so if you ever find yourself in the Flower City be sure to swing by and bask in the stunning beauty of this most amazing piece of artwork as well as 16 volumes of his musings in their library collection.

In the spring of 2010 when I was in Rochester painting a public art project in the South Wedge neighborhood I got to spend an afternoon at the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery Museum consulting with the curators of their 2010 exhibition about Fritz and his friend and noted archictect/author Claude Bragdon. It was the first time in 40 years I had had a chance to spend time going through all the materials that the Museum has in their collection that had been in Fritz's apartment when I spent time with him in 1970. Memories came flooding back into my head as if it was yesterday and I totally loved going back in time and sharing everything I had rattling around in my head with the curators of the exhibition. I also got to see several works by Fritz that I had never seen before which were really mindblowing to me because they totally demonstrated what he had told me about color in a very obvious and graphic way. It was an awesome experience and I was honored to make my small contribution to the long-overdue exhibition and to the growing collective memory of Fritz's work.

- Howie Green