The Light No Longer Shines

Fred Lipp sculpture entitled Omnipresent 1983 in the Marion M. Whitbeck Garden at Rochester General Hospital
Fred Lipp sculpture entitled Omnipresent 1983 in the Marion M. Whitbeck Garden at Rochester General Hospital

Fred (Fritz) Lipp passed away on Sunday morning. A tremendous loss for his family, his students and Rochester. I’ve written quite a bit here about him. His longtime students, our fellow painters, could find no reason to leave the advanced painting class once they found Fred. He had an amazing ability to always be there to take it up a notch. There was no end because as he often told us, he learned from the best. He conversed with Matisse, Van Gogh, El Greco and Guston when he stood in front of their paintings. “They talk to me,” he would say. And Fred loved to share what he learned. We were so lucky to have know him.

Every year the Creative Workshop would have a faculty show and Fred would show a new piece, something to blow your mind, but otherwise he was very quiet about his work. He was commissioned to create the sculpture shown above (please click on it for full photo) for Rochester General Hospital. Entitled “Omnipresent,” it was paid for by a wealthy donor and it originally sat in a courtyard where you could walk around the piece and experience the sculpture in space. The hospital expanded. The sculpture was moved to the Marion M. Whitbeck Garden, in a courtyard near the old entrance. The light that was inside the piece no longer shines. In fact it is not even wired as it was in its original location.

As fate would have it Fred spent some of his last days in this hospital and he visited his sculpture. He talked about the piece in our last conversation and we promised him we would do all we could to get the hospital to run an electric line to the sculpture. Maybe someday we will again see the light as it seeps out the artfully constructed openings.

Our friend, Alice, who was in the class when I first joined, emailed us this. “His words still ring around in my brain… when I paint or just in life… the wisdom applies to both life and art.” I’m quoting her because I feel exactly the same. It is our duty to duty to carry on with this wisdom.


8 Replies to “The Light No Longer Shines”

  1. I am so sorry to hear this. He must have known how respected he was and how much his students felt for him. He sounds as if he walked the walk, as they say, in his life as well as his art. Condolences.

  2. If you hear of plans for a memorial service would you let us/me know? I know several people who would like to attend, including myself. Thanks.

  3. What a brilliant man and so generous with his knowledge. I too feel privileged to have been able to attend his Tuesday classes.

  4. I have a heavy heart after reading of Fred’s passing. I haven’t taken a class from him at the MAG in many years (since I adopted my son) but always thought I would. Funny thing is, I know I’ll still be taking classes from him whenever, wherever I pick up a brush. His critiques could be tough, but he was invariably right. When he liked the work and said “done” what a great feeling. Will miss you, Fred!

  5. What was the name of the sculpture shown?
    It must be a bittersweet comfort to have him live on in your thoughts while having to be reminded that he is no longer living and breathing beside you.

  6. Although I didn’t know the name of Fred Lipp’s sculpture when I wrote this post I have since learned it is entitled, “Omnipresent.” A “life celebration” for Fred will be held on Saturday June 27 from 2-7PM. All of his friends and students are welcome. Email me for directions.

  7. Thought there was going to be an obituary in Sundays paper. Do you know what happened with that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *