Skip to content

January 6, 2015

13

Lamar Briggs: 1935 – 2015

by Anne Paddock

My approach to art is to open myself visually to the world around me as much as possible—by reading, traveling, collecting and just plain “seeing.”  Music and color ‘flow’ for me. I paint to music and the music and rhythm speak to me more than any external experience.       ~Lamar Briggs

My friend, Lamar Briggs passed away on Sunday afternoon. Just last week, I was in his hospital room where he sat wearing his signature cap, giving me grief about the “bird nest” on my head (his description of my poof), asking if I was still driving that “old lady car” (his words for the Caddie I bought last year), and telling me about a new CD he just received (Frank Sinatra with the Red Norvo Quintet, Live In Australia 1959) and how great it is. Although Lamar had been in and out of the hospital for the past 3 months, I knew he was feeling better because he also asked me to put a pair of bright yellow, white, and grey socks on his feet. Ever the colorist, Lamar always had a signature moment and that was the last one I shared with him.

The next day, Lamar wasn’t doing well and was moved to ICU and then to Critical Care when he started deteriorating further. By Friday afternoon, I got an e-mail from his “babe” (Nancy, his wife) that he was being moved to Hospice because there was nothing more the doctors could do. We filled his room with laughter, tears, and jazz music this past weekend but he waited until he was left alone briefly late Sunday afternoon to pass away – probably because he didn’t want a bunch of sniveling women hovering over him, which he surely would have given us grief for if he could.Lamar_Briggs

Lamar Briggs was well-known in the art world. He was a very talented artist who specialized in abstract art; a colorist inspired by music, nature, and the world around him. But he was also a man of surprising tastes, He loved fast cars and drove a Porsche most of his life. One of the highest complements he ever paid me was when he told me he liked the way I drive. I had just picked up he and his wife, Nancy at the Beau-Rivage (he liked nice hotels, too) in Lausanne, Switzerland and had no idea he was evaluating my driving skills. But for all his love of cars and luxury hotels, there was nothing pretentious about Lamar and he disliked pretension in others.

Lamar loved his wife, Nancy, his family and friends (who fiercely loved him back), art, good music, a great movie, dogs (especially corgis), and dark chocolate. He also loved presents and even if a box was addressed to Nancy, Lamar would open it because he couldn’t wait to see what was inside. He wore cool glasses, cared about young people (he called my daughter “Hottie”), and where our nation was headed. From time to time, he would e-mail me and tell me what “my man” (Obama) was doing and how misguided my political views are (I’m an independent) and I never tired of trying to convince him that as an artist, he shouldn’t be a right-leaning Republican although he was a social liberal. In reality, we agreed on a lot more than we disagreed but he always liked to spar.

My world was opened by Lamar Briggs. He introduced me to jazz, Chet Baker, dark chocolate, modern art, and showed me that life was indeed tough so you had to find ways to enjoy it. Last week in his hospital room, I told him that I loved him for who he was and for the road (definitely the less traveled) he took.  He was brave and found a way to do what he loved and didn’t compromise along the way which didn’t make life easy for him. When I asked him what he would have been had he not been an artist, he said he probably would have been a graphic designer, which is what he started out being years and years ago.LamarBriggs

I met Lamar through his wife Nancy who I met 8 years ago in the parking lot of the Four Arts in Palm Beach walking our corgis. They started sending me Christmas cards (hand painted by Lamar) every year and I treasured every single one. When Lamar wasn’t able to paint cards this year, Nancy had a black and white piece photocopied onto a card and sent it out. Last night she turned to me and said that a friend had called her. He had received the card and knew something was wrong because all the color was gone. It was the perfect observation.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 6 2015

    Bottom line, Lamar Briggs just said it like it was. Shocking sometimes, but just being honest and being him. We met in Palm Beach many years ago, and after I helped save him from knee surgery, I became his ‘guru’ for the next 20 years. We became sake buddies and always enjoyed a meal of Nancy’s fabulous vegetarian goodies. Most of all, my deceased husband, who was an artist and had many common bonds with Lamar, was very respectful of his art even though he was not into abstract. There are many ‘Lamars’ hanging on the walls in my Manhattan apartment adding much color and whimsical designs to many rooms. Lamar was not a people person, but if he took to you, he was great friend. I will miss his sarcasm, his jokes (not so funny), his warm smile and bottom line, I will miss my sake buddy. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed by many, especially your loving wife, Nancy.

  2. Alice Henderson
    Jan 6 2015

    Brilliant !! I’ve known Lamar and Nancy over 20 years and this is spot on for Lamar. He is so very missed, but he’ll be filling heaven with color and humor. Alice Henderson

  3. Jan 6 2015

    Thanks Alice and Ruth for your memories of Lamar. I loved his words of endearment that he gave his friends. He will be so missed.

  4. Jim Horton
    Jan 6 2015

    Well, Lamar, talk about “Eternal Life”!
    The joy and color on our walls will never let you die.
    I’ll miss you in body, you dear, dear man, however your joy, grumpiness, élan and celebration of everything and all worth celebrating will go on and on long after I’ll have the fingers to type these or any words.
    How could I possibly write anything to honor you when you’ve outdone all of us in how you poured honor to overflowing on your canvases, across the metal plates and into every bit of lost wax that is not lost after all?
    Thank you for blessing me with your friendship.

  5. Robert Benedickson
    Jan 6 2015

    Lamar Briggs, my kind of guy. Brutally honest at times but as kind and generous as he was talented.. I will miss him.

  6. Jan 6 2015

    Hi Anne Paddock, my name is Lamar Romero. I am named after my Uncle Lamar. I am deeply touched by your post. In truth, I am in tears and really sad. Sad I never got to know my Uncle like you did. Sad to know he was really a cool guy, and that he and I could have joked, sparred, disagreed, and agreed on many a thing. I am glad Nancy loved him so deeply. I wish I could have loved him deeply. It sucks not knowing the person for whom you are named for. I don’t have regrets in my life hardly ever…this will be one of them. I could have tried harder… I am glad my brother John made a deeper effort to get to know Uncle. They stayed in touch for the latter part of the years pretty well. I thank John for that. I hope UL knows I was always on his side, too. Thank you for your loving article and allowing me to know my Uncle the best I ever had since I was 13.

  7. Kristie Briggs Bruno
    Jan 8 2015

    I’m your niece. Your brother’s daughter. Sad to find you this way. I never knew where to even begin my search to find you. I’ve always wanted to at least meet you. I’ve heard such wonderful things about you. Always heard you were a down to earth, kind person…and very real. I know I will meet you some day. Until then….paint with the angels……

  8. Christine Cannon Bucher
    Jan 13 2015

    I had the good fortune to meet Lamar and Nancy Briggs through the art dealer, Ann Jaffe, back in 1991. She came back from Aspen all excited about Lamar’s artwork. Because they lived up the road from Boca Raton, it was convenient to see his studio and select the pieces for his 1992 show here in Florida. Our friendship grew, it was very easy to fall in love with the Briggs and even more so with Lamar’s art. Wherever I have lived, his “Adam & Eve” diptych is the first thing I hang. It was also a thrill to see a client excited in choosing many pieces because you could not just buy one! When visiting him December 2013/Jan 2014, we discussed his latest paintings. He was contemplating titles when I said, “if one could paint one’s dreams, this is what they would look like”! He smiled and the next day called me and said he had been thinking about what I said. Lamar listened and he was also very opinionated. I think that is why all three of us related so well. I am an artist too, and I “got” Lamar and Nancy. We are like distant cousins who stay in touch mentally, even though I wished we were neighbors. Distance kept us apart, the art world kept us close. I’ll always have a place for Lamar in my heart and head. When I look at his art, I think of all the long discussions we’ve had, the laughter, the sparring, the twinkle in his eye. He was a very dedicated and telepathic artist, he knew life and it shows. Every fabulous ounce of Lamar is now with us in his art, speaking to us every time we look at his work. I, like many of you, wish I had more time to spend with him.

  9. Jay Hollenburger
    Apr 26 2015

    I met Lamar in Houston half a century ago. We worked together at Evans-Monical, painted sets at Channel 13, I was “Uncle Jsy” to Brett & Brian, and we had many good times together. In later years we rarely saw each other, but I always looked forward to the beautiful Christmas cards he created individually. He was, as anyone who knew him recognized, one of a kind.

  10. Emily crosswell
    Apr 26 2015

    I have 3 LARGE Larmar Briggs paintings from the 1970s
    Is there a market for these?
    Thank you
    Emily Crosswell

  11. Apr 26 2015

    Hi Emily: Contact Nancy through http://www.lamarbriggs.com.

  12. Apr 26 2015

    Yes, Lamar was truly one of a kind.

  13. Buddy Sauer
    Aug 29 2015

    I worked with Lamar for many years at Channel 13 in Houston. When he & his family returned from Europe to find his “painting roots” they stayed at our house until they found other quarters. He was a very dear friend. In fact I still have a very large Seascape painting of his. Buddy Sauer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: