I spoke to Stephan Weiss on the phone shortly before he died and asked him if the Charles Street Association could have its December holiday reception in his studio on Charles and Greenwich Streets.
He began very positive, but as we talked, he imperceptibly faltered thinking, I’m sure, of his lung cancer. “Well perhaps you should have it at …” and then mentioned another artist studio on Charles Street. Perhaps a year later, Donna Karan readily agreed to let us use the now refurbished studio and every year since, several hundred neighbors gather in what is now a glamorous theatrical setting.
Last month, I was invited to attend a reception in that same studio launching a book of Stephan Weiss’s art “Connecting the Dots” with a fulsome and loving tribute and family history, written by Donna Karan. They met on a blind date when Donna was 18 and Stephan was 28 and came together years later, both divorced and both with kids, and married.
In reading Donna’s history and from film clips emerge a portrait of a very tall, self-assured, protean personality. Stephan Weiss had his hand on the throttle of life as he did on the high-speed Italian racing motorcycles – always a hair’s breath from violent and immediate extinction. His sculpture powerfully explodes with motion and flame licks.
This was a man in charge of life and his instant command of canvas and clay was seamlessly transferred to business as he negotiated the sale of the Donna Karan Company to LVMH with easy surety.
What I had not seen before was his life size sculptures of horses in full gallop – bronze muscles explode – we see the released power.
Stephan Weiss looked within and depicted his vision and command of events in motion.