The ART of being“The Woman behind the Man” !!

Since reading several Obituaries to SIMBARI, in leading newspapers, I am amazed to ‘find’ I (the wife since 1957 ) DO NOT EXIST . . . !!

The Wife seems to be the least interesting “factor” in the Life of an Artist, though I suspect (and judging from my experiences !), it is The Wife who often helps make an Artist’s career move ahead, by supporting and ‘standing’ in the Background. To be “his Mistress”, or “his Lover” seems to evoke glamour - - - but the “WIFE” ? !!

I began ‘thinking about this’, recently, after reading “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain. The story is about the young wife of Ernest Hemmingway, when he was beginning his “climb to fame”, and living with this wife in Paris. What struck me most, was the “assumption” of ‘everybody’ that she, the wife, was some sort of ‘drudge’ . . . silly, or stupid, there to ‘wash his shirts and underwear’ !!! HOW WRONG !! but HOW TRUE !!

In “my story”, once I became SIMBARI’s wife (over 56 years ago),THAT is exactly what I did !! I stayed in the Background . . . only “stepping forward” IF  I was asked to, by him. As SIMBARI’s “WIFE” I luckily had a HUGE sense of humour, and, a sense of the ridiculous !!!

BUT, believe me, there was masses “to do”, in The Background ! Not just ‘wifely’ tasks (whatever they are!) - - - but, running “the house”, looking after our child, entertaining possible “clients”, gallery owners and arranging shipping, and journalists - - - the list is very long !! . . . and making sure The Important One was SIMBARI !! We, the ‘family’, were part of “the background music” !!

It started me “wondering” . . . IF - - - I had been Nicola’s LOVER (Mistress) would I have been “more interesting” . . . would I have been “accepted” ?? as part of “the Art World” and etc. etc. Somehow part of an idea of its “glamour” ? . . . and not merely “dull and ordinary” . . . a ‘drudge’ in the ‘order of things’ !!!

But, I come from a ‘theatrical’ background . . . I was not naïve to the “attentions” of men . . . or “how women behave” when meeting a well-known actor, artist or writer - - - somehow, it “amused” me to watch the “show” ! And, I had a lot to watch, over the years !! A Noel Coward Comedy !!!

Just looking through the Simbari Art Books, through the years, I have only just realized HOW MANY paintings there are of “me” !!
{ there is a Russian web-site, run by Vadim Aleshin  showing Simbari’s works . . . so many of “the muse”, ME!! }

Never with ‘my name’, or suggesting ‘the wife’ . . . they are of OUR LIFE together ! It is only now, that I KNOW I was his “MUSE” !!! What an HONOUR . . . as a ‘model’ I was ‘no good’ - - - I could NOT sit still . . .

But “there I am” . . . hanging laundry . . or shelling peas . . . or darning . . . picking flowers . . . working in the garden - - - and so on !!
Elfrida Simbari - " Interior in Yellow" by Nicola Simbari
[ PS. Nicola had designed the pattern on the material of my dress for an Italian Fashion House ! ]

OUR LIFE together . . . HIS LIFE!!

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