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Emil White, Artist and friend of Henry Miller, Jul 20, 1989

 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:50 am    Post subject: Emil White, Artist and friend of Henry Miller, Jul 20, 1989 Reply with quote

EMIL WHITE DIES SIDEKICK OF AUTHOR HENRY MILLER
San Jose Mercury News (CA) - July 26, 1989

Emil White -- artist, raconteur and sidekick to author Henry Miller -- died last week in his redwood cabin in Big Sur, surrounded by the mementos of a lengthy friendship with the writer known as "the grandfather of the sexual revolution."

Like Miller, who died in 1980, White was 88 when he died Thursday in his sleep after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Friends said White's health had been failing for several months. In the spring, dozens of well-wishers flocked to the cabin, perched on a cliff along Highway 1 overlooking the Pacific, to celebrate White's birthday.

''People were streaming in, and women were hugging and kissing him and bringing him flowers and cakes," recalled his sister Toni White of Chicago. "He was very fond of women and they were very fond of him."

White dedicated most of his adult life to Miller, first as the author's trusted companion, later as curator of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur.

''The first thing he did when I met him was to thrust a Henry Miller book in my hand. I didn't know who Henry Miller was at the time," said Brian Steen, executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust, which will operate the Miller library.

If Miller, whose salacious prose and amatory books were once banned in the United States, was the grandfather of the sexual revolution, then White was its most avid practitioner, recalled Ephraim Doner of Carmel Highlands, a longtime friend.

''He thought of himself as one of the great lovers of women," Doner said. "I think Emil was the essence of Henry's ideas. Henry was just amusing and entertaining. He threw things into the air. Emil lived them."

Miller once wrote of White, "He has only to give a woman the eye, and he knows instantly just how far he may go with her. . . . If I were to write his epitaph, it would go something like this: Here was a man who genuinely loved women despite their faults and their frailties, or maybe because of their very shortcomings."

Friendship acknowledged

Doner recalled White as "the only person I know of who took Henry for exactly what Henry was." Miller acknowledged the friendship in 1957, when he dedicated "Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch" to White, whom he described as "one of the few friends who has never failed me."

White was born April 10, 1901, in Austria. He came to the United States in 1921, partly because "he didn't want to conform to what our parents wanted," his sister said. He worked at a variety of jobs before he met Miller.

Later in life, White wrote several guidebooks about Big Sur, Carmel and the Hearst Castle. He shared the credits for one book with a friend who insisted on listing his lengthy academic titles. White came up with his own credentials, immortalizing himself in print as "Emil White, N.F.E." -- loosely translated as "no formal education."

White first encountered Miller in New York while working for a telegraph company, although neither of them would recall that initial meeting for many decades. They met again in Chicago. White, who had nearly memorized Miller's "The Cosmological Eye" -- the only book available in the United States -- accosted the author on Michigan Avenue and asked, "Aren't you Henry Miller?"

Art for attraction

White followed Miller to Big Sur in 1944 and at the author's urging soon took up painting. His paintings, which have been shown in galleries in California, Chicago, New York and Europe, are noted for their primitive style, vivid colors and minute detail. But White, who was color blind, insisted that his art was merely bait to attract female admirers.

After Harpers published an article in 1947 titled "The New Cult of Sex and Anarchy," Miller and White spent years trying to live down what they insisted were sensationalized tales of lust in Big Sur. But as recently as 1987, White still had a devilish twinkle in his eye as his whispered to this reporter: "So delicious . . . I want to kiss you from head to toe."

Miller left Big Sur in 1961, but White remained the area's unofficial "mayor and president of the chamber of commerce" until failing health confined him to the cabin. Still, attorney Ann McGowan recalled, until recently, White would occasionally slip away from his housekeepers and hitchhike to Carmel.

White is survived by two sons, Stephan of Big Sur and Daniel of Perth, Australia; a brother, David Weiselman of Amsterdam, Netherlands; and sister, Toni White of Chicago.

A memorial service has tentatively been scheduled at 1 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

(Mercury News File Photograph)
Emil White in 1981, in his Big Sur cabin

Edition: Morning Final
Page: 1B
Copyright (c) 1989 San Jose Mercury News

---------------------------------------------

Emil White
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) - July 27, 1989

A memorial service for Emil White, artist and sidekick to author Henry Miller and curator of Miller's library, will be held at the Big Sur library August 12 at 1 p.m.

Mr. White, 88, died last Thursday in his Big Sur cabin after a long bout with Parkinson's disease.

Friends said Mr. White's health had been deteriorating for the past several months. In April, dozens of friends flocked to his cabin, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, to celebrate his birthday.

"People were streaming in, and women were hugging and kissing him . . .," said White's sister, Toni White of Chicago. "He was very fond of women, and they were very fond of him."

Although Miller, whose novels were once banned in the United States, was considered the grandfather of the sexual revolution, Mr. White was its most avid practitioner, according to Ephraim Doner of Carmel Highlands, a longtime friend of White's.

"He thought of himself as one of the great lovers of women," Doner said. "I think Emil was the essence of Henry's ideas. Henry was just amusing and entertaining. He threw things into the air. Emil lived them."

He is survived by two sons, Stefan of Big Sur and Daniel of Fremantle, Australia; a sister, Toni, of Chicago; and a brother, David Wieselman, of Amsterdam.

Donations are preferred to the Henry Miller Memorial Library, Grave's Canyon, Big Sur 93920.

Edition: FINAL
Page: B7
Copyright (c) 1989 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

--------------------------------------------

Artist Emil White; Henry Miller's Friend
Los Angeles Times (CA) - July 27, 1989

Emil White, artist and sidekick of author Henry Miller, died last week in his redwood cabin in Big Sur, friends said. He was 88.

White's cabin was full of mementos of his lengthy friendship with Miller, the "grandfather of the sexual revolution" who also died at the age of 88 in 1980.

White passed away in his sleep last Thursday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Friends said White's health had been deteriorating for the last several months. Last April, dozens of friends flocked to his cabin, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, to celebrate his birthday.

"People were streaming in, and women were hugging and kissing him and bringing him flowers and cakes," White's sister, Toni White of Chicago, recalled. "He was very fond of women and they were very fond of him."

White, considered one of Big Sur's pioneers, painted canvasses noted for their primitive, minutely detailed style. They are shown in art galleries in the Monterey area, as well as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and throughout Europe.

White began his painting career around 1944, after being introduced to the beauty of the Central Coast by Miller, his idol and friend who lived in the area from the early 1940s to the early '60s.

By the late '40s, news clippings referred to White as "the mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Big Sur."

White dedicated most of his adult life to Miller, first as his trusted companion and then as curator of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur.

While Miller, some of whose novels were once banned in the United States, was considered the grandfather of the sexual revolution, White was its most avid practitioner, according to Ephraim Doner of Carmel Highlands, a longtime friend of White.

"He thought of himself as one of the great lovers of women," Doner said. "I think Emil was the essence of Henry's ideas. Henry was just amusing and entertaining. He threw things into the air. Emil lived them."

Edition: Home Edition
Page: 1-26
Copyright (c) 1989 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times
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