IRA UPIN

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

Spectral Light (in memory of Didi Wein) tar, paper, oil, enamel on canvas 90 x 66 inches 1989 From the collection of Dana Braun

In December of 1989, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and immediately underwent six months of chemotherapy. My first thoughts were about my wife and children and how they would cope if I should die. I really didn't think much about my own death because I wouldn't be here to feel the pain. My concerns ran more to an assessment of my life to date and the satisfaction that I had few regrets or recriminations. I have been cancer free since the chemotherapy and can only hope for as much life as possible.

"Spectral Light" was done just before I had cancer. It was created for Didi Wein, who had cancer and subsequently died at age 35. She had asked me to do a large, uplifting painting for her. However, my thoughts turned to sadness. The empty chair arose as a metaphor for a person having died. She died before I finished this painting and never saw it.

Creeping Vine paper with tar bleed-through oil on canvas 67 x 52 inches 1995

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