Max Peiffer Watenphul


[July 1, 1965]

Shortly after World War I, a group of young painters from around the world and I discovered a place on the Gulf of Salerno: Positano. It was this half-abandoned village of white, cubic houses rising precipitously from the blue shores of the Mediterranean up to the mountain sides. It was a wonderful subject matter for us painters. We painted and drew the city, exhibited our works throughout the world, and thus, helped to make Positano famous. The decaying, primitive fishing village became a famed tourist destination with large hotels. For us painters, Positano lost its peaceful appeal and we sought to find a replacement for this paradise.

Thus, we discovered Ischia, the beautiful island with the pine groves, quiet bays, and little white houses and hot springs. Again, we painted this beautiful island, exhibited our works and, again, helped to attract streams of tourists to this landscape. Large hotels were built, and a genteel life arose. Peace fled from this landscape and, once more, we painters had to set forth to new shores. This time, I went alone on my journey of discovery and discovered a new paradise for myself: Corfu. Here, again, were the forests (real forests) of olive trees, overcast by gray, the violet-hued sea of Homer, and an endearing populace. Corfu is the third discovery in my life.

Will the island stay as paradisiacal and majestic as it is now? Or will I have to move on someday and make my fourth discovery?

In: Max Peiffer Watenphul. Werkverzeichnis, vol. I. Grace Watenphul Pasqualucci and Alessandra Pasqualucci, eds. (Cologne, 1989).