The painter Edward Tabachnik from Toronto at the opening of his exhibtion "Halls of the Hermitage", with Clarence painter Mary McAndrew and Consul B. John Zavrel.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome you all to the opening of this exhibition and art auction for the benefit of the Museum of European Art. The event is under the patronage of Wilson Greatbatch and his family. Dr. Greatbatch is not only the famous inventor of the implantable pacemaker, but also an art collector, a supporter of art and an active member of the society in our town and region. This event is a good occasion to thank him once more for all the wise advice in the past.
We came together tonight for a cultural event. But these days - after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 -- all of us in the civilized world have become involved in international politics. The deep feelings we have as individuals are different. But we definitely support the international alliance against terrorism in the world under the leadership of the United States.
And now we will act, as President George W. Bush suggested to Americans: go back to normality and work for a better future. This should be everyone's personal contribution against terrorism.
Our cultural engagement for a better understanding started years ago, when we founded the Museum of European Art in this town. In our "century of the internet" we do not need large museum buildings -- what we do not have -- to be successful in our work. But we are able to present interesting web pages on our website, and inform people worldwide about our activities and ideas. In addition to publishing, the internet art-bulletin PROMETHEUS is one of the instruments we use quite successfully.
The Museum successfully cooperates with the European Art Foundation in Berlin, The Museum of European Art in Germany and the Alexander Order for Art and Science in Paris. In this way, we participate in and support various international events.
In carrying our my responsibilities as Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic, I use also the cultural qualities of this country. I would like to recall that the world-wide known Czech President Vaclav Havel was already an accomplished writer when he started his fight against communism. And it is a good fortune for us all, when men and women of culture and human dignity come to occupy the highest position of a state.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Coming back to our event.
In order to be able to act nationally and internationally, it is necessary to strengthen the basic instrument of our cultural work.
And this instrument is the Museum.
It is for this reason that we have organized this auction. And we thank the European artist-friends who supported us by giving their works for this auction. All the artist's names are printed on your invitations.
But let me welcome this evening two other artists -- one Canadian and one American -- who came in person to be with us today.
We welcome the painter Edward Tabachnik and his wife Galina from Toronto. Thank you very much for coming. And we are proud to be able to show seven of your new paintings on the theme "HALLS OF THE HERMITAGE". Edward Tabachnik was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. And by the way -- last summer there was a memorable exhibition in Toronto of "Paintings of the Hermitage".
We also welcome the painter Mary McAndrew. We have ten of her paintings on display at the Museum.
Thank you Edward Tabachnik, thank you Mary McAndrew for your support and friendship.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The works of the artists which we offer at the auction and for sale, have their cultural origin in the European classical tradition. And we Americans, we all here in this room, have our personal roots in one of these countries, from Spain to England and Ireland, from Italy to Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Russia.
Dear friends, let me now encourage you to take part in this auction. There are fine works from Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Jean Cocteau, Ernst Fuchs, Helga Tiemann, Kurt Arentz, Renate Stendar, Edward Tabachnik, Mary McAndrew and others.
There are always good reasons to collect art. In this case, you support the cultural work of the museum, and by buying art you too take part in the great events of our civilization.
The painter Mary McAndrew addresses the audience at Museum of European Art.
Chancellor of the Alexander Order, Consul B. John Zavrel congratulates Eleanor Greatbatch on becoming a Lady of Alexander Order during a ceremony at the Museum of European Art in Clarence, New York.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends and
On the behalf of the Order of Alexander the Great for Art and Science, I welcome you to this special Award Ceremony.
It is a great pleasure to salute Mrs. Eleanor Greatbatch with the Membership in the Alexander Order.
What is the Alexander Order?
Please let me explain for those who are not familiar with this non-profit organization. The Order is an international spiritual community. The Order works based on democratic principles of the countries in which it operates.
The goals in our time are to support all the good things Alexander the Great did more than 2000 years ago, and to support the consequences for freedom, human rights, science and arts on a large scale -- from architecture to literature, as well as poetry and fine art.
In the history of the Order, under the patronage of the late Paul II, the King of the Hellenes, not many women were admitted into the Order. In the more remote past, mostly members of royalty were members, such as Princess Victoria Louise. She was the daughter of the last German Kaiser -- and therefore the grandmother of the present Queen of Spain.
Since the Order was modernized by the French writer and biographer of Alexander the Great, Roger Peyrefitte in 1990, it became more common to welcome Ladies into the Order also. Among our present lady-members are Professor Uta Ranke-Heinemann -- the first female professor of catholic theology in the world, and the writer Ruth Zucker in Israel.
Today and in this place we continue the tradition.
Dear Mrs. Greatbatch!
We thank you for accepting this membership. We know very well your modesty.
We know you avoid to be in the public spotlight. You prefer to work quietly, behind the stage.
Dear friends, let me point out this:
In Eleanor Greatbatch we honor a lady, a mother of five successful children and the wife of a scientist, a very honorable man and a great American.
Eleanor Greatbatch, you were and are the lady on the side of Wilson Greatbatch. But you are also the person behind our admired inventor of the implantable pacemaker. And it is not wrong to compare the life of the two of you with the exemplary life of the former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. They always stayed together, in good times and in bad times. And they do so also now.
Mrs. Greatbatch, you and your husband -- in both your life and work -- are ideals for the young married couples and for the young generation in general.
In this sense I hand over to you the Membership Certificate with all good wishes.
God bless you.