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Character and Lifestyle

Views on Art

Guadalajara June 4,1974 at the Unitarian Universalist gathering

Lecture  " 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)

Religion

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.

Humor

Paul's 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 interests.

Discussion Groups

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.

 

Frugality

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

 

Health

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.

 

This site was last updated on 08/09/00
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