Letter: Taking up Church's chalk

Like art critic Edward Sozanski, I, too, am mourning the loss of long-time Barnes Foundation instructor Barton Church ("Sic Transit Gloria Merion," March 17).

I knew Church because of my Barnes studies: first in Violette de Mazia's class, then in Angelo Pinto's, and finally many years later in his own class, "Traditions." By that point, I was teaching for the Violette de Mazia Foundation and serving as its then-education director.

Barton Church, who died last month at age 86, taught at the Barnes for 59 years.

Church encouraged me in class and on Sundays, when we were at the foundation preparing for our next class. He was generous, kind, and supportive. One such Sunday, I felt particularly bewildered by a Cézanne painting. Church counseled me to stay with it and, if I did, I would soon understand what was eluding me. He said the surprise would be delightful and worth the hard work. He was right.

Fortunately, Church's passing has not dissolved "the last link to the Barnes Foundation in its original form," as Sozanski suggests. I continue to teach the objective method in a range of settings - wherever students seek an objective way to appreciate painting. This is lifelong work, and I feel fortunate to have had brilliant teachers like Church at the Barnes Foundation.

Marilyn Bauman, Wilmington, mbauman@demazia.org