Queer Places:
SCAD Lacoste, Rue du Four, 84480 Lacoste, France

Fred W. McDarrah | Bernard Pfriem (20th Century) | Available for Sale |  ArtsyBernard Aldine Pfriem (September 7, 1914 – March 6, 1996) was an American painter. In 1949 John Bernard Myers and Tibor de Nagy organized a production company specialied in puppet shows. The first production they launched was a Pueblo Indian fairy tale inspired by Max Ernst's enchanting collection of Kachina dolls. Their collaborators were Bernard Pfriem, who designed the production; the playwright Randolph Carter, who wrote much of the dialogue; the poet Charles Boultenhouse, who wrote three lyrics; and Ned Rorem, who set the lyrics to music for voice and tympani. The hour-long play was entitled Fire Boy.

Bernard Aldine Pfriem was born on September 7, 1914 in Cleveland, OH, the son of Charles Pfriem and Amanda Ketterer. Pfriem attended the John Huntington Polytechnic from 1934 to 1936 and graduated from the Cleveland Institute Art in 1940. He was a William Copley grantee in 1959; an Agnes Gund travelling scholar in 1940; and a Mary Sugget Ranney travelling scholar.

He served with United States Air Force, from 1942 to 1946. He was a member of Century Club.

Bernard Pfriem taught at the Museum Modern Art, New York City, from 1946 to 1951; he was chief design of the United States Government Program Trade Fairs and World Fairs in Europe from 1953 to 1956; he taught at the Cooper Union School Art and Architecture, New York City, from 1963 to 1969, and at the Sarah Lawrence College, from 1969 to 1975.

Pfriem was living in Mexico City as an apprentice to Diego Rivera and Orzoco, in 1940, where the 26 y.o. Pfreim dropped the dime on Leon Trotsky when Stalin’s goons followed him to Mexico’s DF. No one can guess Bernard’s motives, but by 1961, he was a WWII Vet living in Paris on a grant from the Copley Foundation. In Paris, Bernard’s circle of expats included Constantin Brâncuși, James Baldwin and Maxine Birley, later known as Maxime De La Falaise, model and muse to Cecil Beaton, Elsa Schiaparelli and Andy Warhol. At the beginning of WWII, “Maxime” had been a “Computer” at Bletchley Park but was dismissed due to her apparent kleptomania. By the time that the War ended, Maxime was married to a French noble, Count Alain Le Bailly de La Falaise and a veteran the French Resistance. Before moving to Southern France with Bernard in 1961, Maxime had given the Count two children, Loulou and Alexis.

He was founder and director of the Lacoste School of the Arts, France, from 1971 to 1991, becoming director emeritus in 1991. Pfriem and Maxime de la Falaise moved to the small village of Lacoste to which he was very attached in the 1950s. Among Paris’ artistes it was well known that the Marquis De Sade, hailed from Provence and Lacoste in particular. To Bernard and Maxime, their first visit yo Lacoste must have felt like a pilgrimage. In 1969 he founded an art school in Lacoste, which still exists under the name Savannah College of Art and Design. (SCAD), actually a branch of Savannah College in Atlanta.

Some time before 1968, Maxime and Bernard fell apart. Whether this was her dalliances or the fault of Bernard, no one can say. Perhaps it was just Maxime’s desire for a bigger sandbox. By 1967, Maxime was in NYC, remarried to John McKendry, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By 1974, Maxime was a fixture at Warhol’s Factory, performing in Paul Morrisey’s “Blood for Dracula” (1973). Together, Maxime and McKendry would play an important role in launching Robert Mapplethorpe’s career. After Maxime’s departure, Bernard decided to turn the place into a school via Sarah Lawrence College and his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Art.

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