Updated: May 7, 2019
Every time I travel to Buenos Aires, I take the time to visit an old friend that I have never been introduced to formally. I feel a deep kinship to this young woman.
She resides in a spiritual space in the Recoleta Cemetery The first time I encountered her I just happened upon her by chance. She was standing very still and seemed to be waiting for someone. It made me hold my breath and wonder who was she waiting for. She seemed quite elegantly dressed almost as if she were a bride. It gave me a feeling of deep sadness. Somehow I wanted to comfort her.
I also wondered why her hand was on a dog. On a subsequent visit to Buenos Aires, when I paid a visit to the young woman standing in the Recoleta Cemetery, I found out that she had died on her honeymoon. Further research I found a least part of her story. She was Liliana Crociati de Szaszak, born on March 10, 1944 and died March 1, 1970 in an alpine avalanche in the Tirol in Austria. Whether her husband died as well, I do not know. After Liliana's dog died some time later, a dog statue was placed there so that Liliana's hand could rest on it.
Perhaps I found Liliana compelling as after I married the love of my life in June of 2000, he died 50 days later.
Though born in the city of Chicago, Janet Brugos has always felt she was a citizen of the whole world, not just her birth country. While living outside the city of Lights, Paris, she paid attention to her inner desires of wanting to create art. Janet met a wonderful French artist, who guided her to enter the Salon des Independants. Janet had shown the artist her early collages and she was quite encouraging. She did enter the Salon in 1991. Afterwards, she received many invitations to show in Paris galleries. She thought it was some kind of mistake but her husband, Dominque, told her to check out the galleries. She did and they were fine galleries. The first one, Galerie Everarts wanted her to have 8 framed pieces. The only two framed pieces she had were the ones that were in the Salon at Grand Palais, so she had to make a deal with her framer to frame several additional pieces. It was so exciting be a part of the art scene in Paris. She thought she was dreaming. The second showing she had in Paris was in a show called Les Ponts de Paris. She created two collages based on her ideas of many of the bridges, not one particular bridge. She doesn't recall the name of the space where this was held but it was huge. At the opening, she arrived with friends who thought it must be a theater, as there was a huge line of people waiting to get in. She had a hard time finding her pieces but then saw them from a distance. They were in a central place so viewing them from afar and near gave very different impressions. She was totally thrilled to be a part of this vibrant art scene. Janet received many more invitations for art shows but was not able to take part. Her marriage had collapsed and her mother was experiencing health difficulties. Her intent was to return to the US for six months, help her mother, and think about whether to dissolve the marriage or not. In the end, she obtained a divorce and returned to live in Colorado.
She continued with her art and at the same time worked as a Field Interviewer for NORC, the Social Science Research arm of the University of Chicago. While in Colorado, she had several solo shows, the most important being at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo. Her show was titled “Bridges." She made two pieces: one was “Paris by Day” and the other was “Paris by Night.” Paris by Day sold in that show as well as several other pieces. She exhibited frequently in galleries in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Durango and Denver. While she loved the pure mountain air and being near enough to help her mother when she needed it, she missed the Cosmopolitan life in France.
In 2005, she moved back to the San Francisco Bay area to the city of Oakland where she still resides. She loves Oakland and its many art scenes. Her art has evolved. She has produced many pieces each year. Lately she has been working of a series called Ice Thins which calls attention to climate change and its effects. She continues to return to the theme of bridges.