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Filming Diary

This is the section where the filmmaker Paul Farkas writes about his experiences and adventures while gathering the footage for his documentary film on Donald Stoltenberg. A short comment on location and people met is posted as the filming goes, to keep you up to date. As the work on the film continues, more information is added to each and every chapter.

In Rome PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 February 2013 00:00

I went to Rome to get some of the illustration footage. Donald visited here in 1953. Rome is such a pleasant and inspiring city, and much warmer in February than Prague is!

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 June 2013 22:05
In Paris PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 December 2012 00:00

Paris was cold and foggy. But I saw places that Donald worked on, I remember them from his sketch book. It was good to photograph them, so I could use them in the film. It is the final stage of gathering illustration material.

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 June 2013 22:05
Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 17:31

I visited the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin, Germany. After seeing the exhibition on Hungarian presence in Bauhaus (which was significant and involved my namesake, a Bauhaus designer and artist Molnár Farkas), I visited the Bauhaus library and Archive. Unfortunately, no photo could be taken inside and no interview request landed on a fertile soil here. I had hoped to get an interview with an historian there who could tell me more about the historical context of the Bauhaus school end in Germany (1933) before Donald's school - referred to as The New Bauhaus - was established in Chicago (1937). In the archive, though, I found a nice document listing the New Bauhaus students and professors, which contains names of Donald Stolteberg, prof. Charles Owen and also Donald's classmates Fred Berger or Marty Hurtig (ex director of the UIC School of Art and Design). In addition, Hurtig's file was present, showing exhibition invitation cards as well as a questionnaire with an interesting feedback recalling the times of his studies. If you are interested in Bauhaus history, the Berlin Archive might be a place worth visiting. http://bauhaus.de/

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:59
New York Steampunk PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 November 2010 13:02

For quite some time, I have been realizing a clear connection between Donald's structuralistic collagraph prints and the Steampunk movement and its interest in things mechanical. Attending a meeting of the Steampunk Artists and Enthusiasts was wll worth it. I met several fellow members from the on-line community. Talking to Steve was extremely interesting and helpful in understanding the fascinating relations between the Victorian times and today.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 February 2011 18:25
D.C. Mural PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 11:15

Another trip to Washington D.C., and this time it worked out. I have gotten an invitation to the private residence where Donald Stoltenberg painted a mural, and so I could document that particular room for an hour or so. The house was previously owned by friends of Donald who commisioned him to paint some local scenes of Georgetown, Washington monument or the White house. Thanks to Mr. Augustine for his hospitality.

Boston Walk Trail PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 July 2010 15:07

Neil is a volunteer guide welcoming tourists coming to Boson who are interested in city history. He took me on a nice walk tour and also was very knowledgable of the culture scene in Boston in 1950's. We discussed social and financial situation of those times which illustrates the time frame Donald was living in Boston. Visit http://www.bostonbyfoot.org if you are in the area to go on the tour and say hello to Neil.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 22:44
Home Environment PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 July 2010 11:15

I see the artist's home environment as the most intimate reference to his way of life. Seeing Don's the work desk, library or decorations is always a deep and motivating experience.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 22:55
Sturgeon Bay Shipyards PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 10:00

Visiting former Manitowoc shipyards (now located in Sturgeon Bay, WI) was the most exciting experience of the year. Big thanks goes to Patric O'Hern and Karl Schroeder who took me and my local connection John on a 3-hour tour around the yard. I was mostly interested in recording illustrative footage and sound of the shipyards. It was just fascinating to see all the works behind the shipbuilding.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 22:29
Manitowoc region in 1930's PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 February 2010 15:00

Well-known Manitowoc historian Kerry Trask talks about the socioeconomic conditions of the region from 1930's on. We have met in a brand new building of local library, where Kerry Trask used to be a member of the board. Kerry also invited three local people and we were remembering the old times.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 22:31
Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 February 2010 10:54

Steve Khail of the Manitowoc Company was a very helpful person for this project and he was really the main drive that made me going to Wisconsin in mid-February. He can understand the enthusiasts like me since he was working number of hours on the Voyage of Vision, the book describing wonderfully the history of the company. We have met in his office in the Manitowoc headquarters and talked about the company history of building ships.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 22:24
Meeting Dick, the cousin, in Dallas PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 November 2009 00:00

A trip to Dallas, Texas, to meet with Donald's cousin Dick Roxburgh.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:29
Box of surprises PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00

A short visit to Brewster to talk to Donald for the last time in 2009. I brought a big box of historical material he has collected over the years. These are amazing gems for a documentarian like I.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:29
Sidney Hurwitz, a built environment fellow PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 00:00

Fenwey Studios is the working place of Sidney Hurwitz, Donald's colleague from Boston Printmakers and a collaborator on Donald's second book, The Artist and the Built Environment (1980).

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:17
Vivian Berman remains faithful to collagraphy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 September 2009 00:00

Vivian Berman is a former student of Donald's, and now a teacher at DeCordova Museum School. She teaches collagrahy print making, the very technique Donald has excelled in and described in his 1975 book. We have met at DeCordova sculpture park and later visited her house, itself a work of modern art.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:21
Milwaukee, WI - the birthplace PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00

Milwaukee, WI is the city where Donald was born on October 15, 1927. I was trying to spot the location of his house and to get the feeling of the city as well.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:29
Chicago, vol. 4 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 00:00

Under the bridge, ChicagoAnother visit to Chicago involved meeting with historian Peter Alter, a curator from Chicago History Museum, meeting Robert Amft, more filming around town and taking a side-trip to Milwaukee.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:29
A lunch in Portsmouth, NH PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 10:17

I came across with Don Gorvett's reduction woodcuts in Bowersock gallery in Provincetown in the summer of 2008. I told Donald Stoltenberg about those interesting prints and he answered the artists know each other. So, when I was planning my February trip, I knew I would like to get to New Hampshire to talk to Mr. Gorvett. And it worked out just fine. My friend (and chauffeur) Greg Atkinson and I left Boston in the morning and we were at our destination just around noon. Just like in Marblehead the day earlier, we were so lucky to have such a beautiful weather! The views of the harbor with a huge freight ship were stunning and they reminded me of Don Gorvett's prints immediately.


Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:25
Marblehead, MA PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 February 2009 10:15

Yes, I did get to Boston on-time. A friend Gregory picked me up there and I slept like a baby after a nice dinner. Next day, we headed to Marblehead, MA. A picturesque village north of Boston that is home for Peter Sorlien, the former director of The Mystic Seaport Gallery in Connecticut. If you ever need the service of an accredited appraiser of antiques or art, he is the right person for you [contact: accreditedappraisers at verizon.net].



Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:27
Sipping coffee with Bill Miller PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 February 2009 10:13

I got to New York JFK airport around noon and I was supposed to take off and head for Boston at 7:15 PM. Unfortunately, Delta does not allow you to check your bag through if you have a stop longer than six hours (oh, that security...), so I just had to sit and wait at the terminal until it was 6 hours prior to departure. I was going to meet an ocean liners expert Bill Miller who has written more than 60 book on the subject and is constantly traveling around the world and gives lectures. He lives in New Jersey and I had my plans all figured out. Two hours each way to get to his place and one hour spent with him should give me enough time to make my evening flight. But this change made me call him and arrange to meet in downtown Manhattan instead.


Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:31
Not seeing the mural in D. C. PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 20:03
This trip began in Washington D. C. for me, where I spent 4 days visiting a friend and enjoying a wonderful warm spell of 62°F, which was rather unexpected in the middle of February. I also wanted to meet people who commissioned Donald Stoltenberg to paint a mural for them. As Donald told me, he painted all of it at home on Cape Cod and went to D. C. only once to assemble it and to make some final touches. Unfortunately, the meeting with the owners did not work out.
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:30
Dallas: cancelled PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 November 2008 10:00
You can plan well ahead, but unexpected things do happen. My trip to visit the only living Don's relative had to be cancelled this November. I spent four days with  my friends Sue and Arnie Kaestner n Houston, TX and was planning on taking a one-day trip to Dallas, to speak to Dick Roxburgh. Unfortunately, his severe back pain followed by medicine treatment made this visit impossible. I hope to visit him later, probably in November 2009.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:33
Boston in the 60's PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 September 2008 12:30

After graduating from The Institute of Design, and after returning from Europe, Donald spent nearly 20 years in Boston. With the help of Greg Atkinson, my wonderful chauffeur, I went to see three significant places for him at that time. First, The Kanegis gallery at 123 Newberry Street, and then places Don and Ken lived - at 42 Phillips street, and also right on the water - 55 Commercial Wharf. I think the wharf especially provided Donald with a great inspiration. After all, one of the reason he moved from Chicago to Boston was that he "wanted to be close to the sea".


Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:35
Chicago, vol. 3 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 September 2008 19:28
This trip to Chicago was rather exciting. A flat tire on the aircraft in Prague caused a 2 hour delay. A broken luggage belt at JFK resulted in checking-in all over again and gaining more delay... fortunately the connection in JFK was 3 hours late due to the weather conditions. The weekend of the 13th of September was wet. Chicago rainfall record was broken: almost 10" of water within 48 hours. Pulaski and Foster streets were closed due to floods. Which worried me; Pulaski is quite close to Harding Avenue where I wanted to go and I hoped there would be no damage to the Villa district.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 18:41
Manitowoc Shipyards today PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 September 2008 00:00

Donald spent his summers in the 1930's and early 40's in Manitowoc, WI, at his grandfather's farm. He still remembers going to and from the farm, passing along the fence of the Manitowoc shipyards. Seeing big cranes and various machinery behind the fence fascinated this young boy enough to inspire him to start building ship models.

Donald remembers: "My grandparents on my mothers side were Emma and William Belitz. They owned and ran a hardware and farming machinery store in Cleveland Wis most of their married life, only selling the store to a son in law and buying the small farm for their later years. They had two horses, perhaps six or eight milk cows and any number of chickens. The farm was almost in sight of Lake Michigan."

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 18:26
The old ID: Historical Society & Crown Hall PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 July 2008 00:00

Before it has moved into a new high-rise on La Salle, Institute of Design found a home in two different buildings in Chicago. This one, that Don knows well, used to be the headquarters of the Chicago Historical Society and you can find it on Dearborn and Ontario streets. It is now a night club called Excalibur. I visited the building's interiors during my third trip to Chicago and received a warm welcome by the owner and management of the club. Would I expect Donald like the changes? Not really: "I hate what they have done to that building," he says.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:32
Chicago, vol. 2 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 17:56

I was charmed by Chicago. I decided I needed to return this year and do more filming and discovering, so I came back here on July 16 and stayed until July 20, 2008.


Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:32
Prof. Dunn: "Stoltenberg does not fit into categories." PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 20:20

Roger T. Dunn is Professor of Art at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He has been tracing Donald's activity for the last 30 years.


Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:32
Old fishermen's boats PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2008 03:17

You still can see boats that are around 100 years old in Provincetown, Massachusetts. But being a fisherman today is hard even in this small Portuguesse fieshermen's village.


Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:32
Donald's $1 trip to Provincetown PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 July 2008 03:18

This was the very first opportunity to capture Donald in exteriors.


The Flex bus service on Cape Cod


Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:47
Donald, personally PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 00:00

Today, we had a very personal interview. I asked Donald many questions about himself and his attitudes.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:33
Sarasota, FL. More paintings here. PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 February 2008 21:14

Prof. Richard Ellis, is a collector of Donald's and long-time friend of the marine artist. He showed me his large private collection.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:33
On the high seas PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 November 2007 21:17

Photographing on the high seas for illustrating images to complement the story... Zuiderdam of Holland America is my favorite ship. I actually became Mr. Zuiderdam in their socializing competition and won some prizes. I like the library on this ship.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:47
Filming in Provincetown, MA PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 21:11

Long-time friend of Donald's, prof. Richard Ellis, showed me his collection of Donald's oil paintings and prints.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:35
Never throw anything away! PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 September 2007 21:09

Donald is a collector, but on the neat side. He seems to keep everything that is connected to his life and history. The place he lives in is not bulging with stuff, Don is very organized and knows where to reach for anything I ask.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:50
The Villa District in Chicago PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 September 2007 20:57

Donald's childhood and his relation to the architect Clarence Hatzfeld. For more information on VILLA click here.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:51
Institute od Design. So different today! PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 21:03

ID has changed a lot since 1953, Donald's graduation year. It developed from technical and skill-oriented school into more of a system design institution. Donald was glad to see pictures of the local workshops I brought, anyway. They still have some saws and other tools to create various models etc. I was welcomed very warmly here by Vincent LaConte and prof. Charles L. Owen.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:43
Meeting a classmate in Northbrook PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 10 September 2007 20:58

A train trip to Northbrook, IL to visit Donald's classmate Hugh Patterson and his wife. They showed me one large oil painting of Don's that Hugh received upon Donald's move to Boston. It is a very abstract one.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:45
Robert Amft: "Don did not need to be taught." PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 September 2007 20:52

Robert Amft was one of the forces in Donald's art education. He is an active artist in Chicago, exhibiting in Hancock Tower.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:51
Filming in Chicago, IL, part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 September 2007 11:21

The first trip to Chicago, an exciting time!

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:51
Birdhouses: "The Architect in me." PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 21:41

Donald is a man of many interests and one that loves to create. You might not know about another passions of his, such as building birdhouses. One of the things he learned from his father was working skills, because he had his own workshop in the basement of the house they lived in.

"I find it a nice change from painting, and the bird houses are in a way coming to terms with the architecture - which I never did," Donald says. There is a number of models of these houses in his yard, from very simple to quite elaborate. You can even find the Dracula's castle there. "With that it was a chance to do something romantic, it is made of red cedar, which is very durable." The actual bird house is actually just 6 inches cube. Donald made a couple of churches; and now he thinks of nothing smaller than a cathedral! He likes to put the bird houses outside as soon as they are finishes and then "it is very satisfying to know that they serve the purpose and birds like them."

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:45
Painting with Watercolors PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 08:23

Painting with watercolors may be more interesting than you think. At least that's what I discovered, after one afternoon spent in Don's studio watching his magic on a white sheet of paper. It was quite exciting and very inspiring. I would never think Don can do it so fast! I was surprised how brutal Don works with the sheet of paper... and paper towels... oh, he must use tons of them!

I like to listen to Donald. His speech is very clear, and he doesn't use "you know" or "aaaah", as so many people these days. Also from hundreds of e-mails I can tell his English is very good, which pleases me, being a man who works with and does care about the language. Writing this text retrospectively, I can say we actually did talk with Donald about the use of language today. I will get to that later (in the chapter called Donald, personally).

Donald didn't try to act, didn't ask me whether I am ready to film or whether he should do this or that. He was just working and didn't really care what I was doing, I could go anywhere I wanted, climb any table or stand anywhere I wanted. It was exactly what I hoped for. I was always worrying a little about how will he accept somebody in the studio. Isn't the studio something like a sanctuary, after all?

The studio is located in a wing that was added to the house, specially designed to accommodate artistic needs - it is a well known fact that painters like to have northern light in their workshops. The studio is equipped with a large window, large table nearby that Don works on while painting watercolors, as well as large wall with lots of screws in it... for hanging the canvases while painting with oil. There are lots of drawers and closets with his artworks, Don's large printing machine (apparently not used very much nowadays, as it is covered with many items), and there are tools hanging on the wall in one corner, arranged very neatly. There is also a very large storage area below the ceiling, and many birdhouses find room there. I will place some pictures into the Production Photos section for a better idea.

(I am glad I made the Photos section work. I had great troubles installing any picture gallery into Joomla system. So I am now using an external gallery, Picasa by Google)

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:46
Visiting Wickford, RI PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 July 2007 20:48

On a sunny day, my friend Rick and I went to visit a friend of Don's, Dr. C. C. Goertemiller, in Wickford RI who agreed to show us his private collection. Along with a few prints, we saw some of the larger oil paintings of Don's earlier period (1960's) and got to learn about some more about his personality from a friend's perspective.

What I noticed in Wickford immediately was the highest number of American flags from different periods I ever saw in one street, hanging on the houses along the main road. Some of the houses here were built in the 1700's, before the Revolution. Today, this village is mainly a tourist attraction, offering fishing and boats. And, one of Donald's friends lives here.

"I lived in the west end of Boston, and remember paying $360 a month," Dr. Goertemiller recalls. "And Don was really just across the harbor. Those are the days when Jordan Marsh department store had a lunch counter and we went for lunch there occasionally." He was a research fellow at Harvard University Medical School, and by that time he gained his two largest oil paintings. One of them is Coloseum, an unusual view of it, not seen by most tourists. "I found it exuberant right on, I immediately understood what it was. Some of the elements in it not only throw your eye up, but also your spirit," he comments on them dramatically. And the other one is an abstract painting of an old Nantasket ferry, bringing families for a day trip to the beach. You will not see that one today, it was replaced with a modern one.

One of Goertemiller's paintings is a watercolor of the towers in downtown Munich, Germany. I was in Munich in February 2006 but I did not have a camera by then nor did I get to see that view. Maybe I will go back one day, their Pinakotheke Der Moderne sure does offer some good modern art. There is another spot I am still interested in, right in Wickford: The barn at 103 West Main Street in Wickford. That was also once an inspiration for a series of Donald's paintings. It was still under construction when Don & Ken visited and Donald took lots of pictures and based his "barn period" on them. They provided just the right structure to catch his attention. Too bad I did not get to see that day of my visit, because it was getting dark soon.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:46
Book talk PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 21:15

While visiting friends in Provincetown, MA, Don talked about The Windy City today. There is another adjective for Chicago, though. It's The White City and explaining this, Don returned all the way to 1893 to the times of Chicago World's Fair.

There is a nice book by Erik Larson about the fair, if you are interested. But other books were also mentioned in the interview, especially those written by Donald Stoltenberg. First, Collagraph Printmaking, a step-by-step manual, and then a project with a few other artists, The Artist and the Built Environment.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:46
Filming started July 2, 2007 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 July 2007 16:28

Donald talks in his studioThe very first footage for the documentary film on Donald Stoltenberg was taken on July 2, 2007 after a short preparation and getting a new camera specially for this project. Don and I started with looking back in history, going through black & white photographs from the 1930's on.

I asked Donald to have the photographs ready when we meet in person. Don was working on arranging his photo albums in 2005, and as I did expect, all the pictures in them were arranged everything very neatly. Glued on a thick brown paper, with detailed captions by Donald's distinguish penmanshp and wrapped in transparent protecting folders, these photos introduced me briefly to Don's childhood, school years, as well as his beginnings as an artist. I was truly amazed with the number of family photos he has... I grew up some 40 years later and don't have many photographs myself! Donalds father was apparently an avid photographer, and Donald, as his only child, became frequently the object of his creative passion. All pictures were very well composed, well developed, nothing short of perfect. Looking at them, we began to review Don's childhood in Chicago…



Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:46


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