About eight years ago, I had a memorable and somewhat apprehensive conversation with a close friend, a painter. At the time, his wife was expecting their first child and the topic of discussion was parenthood. I asked if he had considered how the responsibilities of being a father might alter the diligent schedule he kept at the studio. He replied that this was a concern, but that his plan was basically to take the child to the studio with him. When I pointed out that young children are rarely content to sit and entertain themselves for hours on end, my friend answered that this problem was taken care of. All that was needed to keep a child occupied, I was told, was a playpen, a sack full of feathers, and a bucket of molasses. When I asked which child-care expert recommended this unconventional brand of behavioral enrichment, he replied: H. C. Westermann.

At the time of this conversation, the artist H. C....


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