Views on Art
Guadalajara June 4,1974 at the Unitarian Universalist gathering
" Understanding Picasso"
MP3 File (58 min)
WMA File(58 min)
Jan 13, 1956 article in Stars &
Stripes, SANDS edition "Rembrandt and Me" (please
excuse the poor quality, scroll down to read the full text)
Fontaine did not commit himself to any formal religion. In Guadalajara he
had found contentment with a small fellowship of Unitarians, and liked their credo which
is all encompassing. "Mindful of the brotherhood of all mankind, we gather in the
freedom of the path for the contemplation and understanding of our universe."
They do not believe in the Trinity - just in God, and Jesus as the Son of God. Paul
differed from this still and after listening to lectures on Judaism, where they had
expressed their view of Jesus as only being a spiritual leader in his time like many
others, he differed all the more. Fontaine was an agnostic and had narrowed
down his beliefs to Darwin's theory of the evolution. He did not believe in an after-life.
For him, Man is a part of Nature and the highest form of life and Nature eliminates those
who cannot survive in their environment. He based all his beliefs on direct experience-
and knowledge. All he knew is that he needed take care of his body and not abuse it
if he wanted to survive a little longer.
sense of humor was appreciated and endorsed. His conversations were permeated with irony
and smiles. Lots of hand waving. He was a skilled and engaging conversationalist because
he was genuinely curious and took the time to learn about a person's life and
While in Guadalajara Fontaine belonged to an exclusive discussion
group of eight men, who called themselves, "the brain trust." He has given talks
on such divergent subjects as "Picasso" and "Energy." Later he joined
a "Great Decisions" group of Foreign Policy Associations. One can easily
conclude that Fontaine was a humanist and practiced active humanism. His public interests
were in the real world about him, while his creative instincts produced his private, world
of non-objective paintings.
Paul was renowned for his sense of frugality. For example he didn't believe in
hotels, so the family camped wherever they traveled or stayed with friends. That included
camping in the middle of Paris, spending 6 months in a tent in Guadalajara before moving
to a shack and of course never eating in restaurants unless forced to. He saved and
invested all he had. He bought all his art supplies at hardware stores, made his own
stretchers and frames and was loyal to the VW bug and van.
More remarks by lifelong friend Leon
Hovsepian regarding their sense of frugality
Since his early days in art school he was aware of the importance of good food
and exercise for health. In the 60's he made his own yogurt and ate salads for lunch. He
switched his starches to rice and ate little meat. His cache of vitamins was legendary. He
read all of Linus Pauling's works on vitamin C and Adele Davis' works on
nutrition. He played tennis at least 5 times a week. His weaknesses
were sweets and peanuts. And he also could never refuse a good piece of apple pie
with ice cream and cheddar cheese. His father had died in his forties from a massive heart
attack, so the threat was always there. Through his healthy living and good medicine he
managed to avoid a triple bypass until the age of 75, and a heart valve
transplant at 78.