I regularly collect old images off of pinterest for painting subjects, and was kind of thrilled to discover a 2nd and then 3rd of the same woman, sporting a big red beehive and what looked to be a post-coital cigarette. She kept popping up from time to time, and finally one image linked to an article on a book all about her. The book documents all of the photographs, paraphernalia and notes found in an abandoned suitcase found in an apartment in Germany. The estate was obtained by Delmes and Zander Gallery in Cologne, ( who have an amazing roster of outsider artists) and was made into a book and a show: "Margret – Chronik diner Affäre", which then traveled to White Columns in NYC.
The photographs, paraphernalia and notes in the suitcase documented a 1969-1970 affair between Gunter, a 39 year old businessman, and Margret, his 24 year old secretary. Despite both being married, he photographed their many trips together, and apparently kept obsessive notes on the details of their sexual encounters. He collected her hairs, empty birth control packets, even a scab and a bloody tissue.
I also became obsessed with Margret, and wanted this out of print book. I found one online for $195, and discovered it happened to be in a local bookstore. Alias Books in Atwater, Los Angeles - very cool shop. I wrote and asked if they would consider less if I came in with cash, and I ended up buying it for $160. I felt a little weird as the guy was counting my money, so I tried to lighten the mood by saying "That's my mom there on the cover. We're trying to get all of these out of circulation." Awkward pause. "...OH." he says. "Uh, just kidding." I say. He looked at me like I was nuts, and I scooted out.
I knew the book was in German, but I underestimated what a hard time I would have translating it. But maybe I'm better off just painting Margret, and wondering.