Larger-than-life bronze portrait bust "PRESIDENT VACLAV HAVEL" by the German sculptor Kurt Arentz.
Berlin - The German-Czech reconciliation makes progress. A special contribution was achieved at the first state visit of the Czech President Vaclav Havel to Berlin in May. Havel received as a gift a bronze portrait-bust . This strongly symbolic gesture was initiated by B. John Zavrel, director of the American "Museum of European Art" in Clarence, N.Y. The bust was created by the German sculptor Kurt Arentz, who is one of the leading European artists.
Zavrel, who is also the Czech Honorary Consul in New York in the United States, said at the handing over at the ceremony in Berlin: "This honor is in appreciation for the persistent engagement of Havel for reconciliation, freedom and a united Europe. The 63-year old President received also the "German State Citizen Award". Havel appeared very moved. He accepted the awards as a recognition for his country, said Havel to applause.
At the ceremony, arranged by the Ambassador Frantisek Cerny for Havel and his wife Dagmar at the Czech Embassy in Berlin, the atmosphere was very conciliatory. Zavrel has arrived from the United States on his cultural engagements, in order to assure the esteemed statesman and poet Havel that he 'has many known and unknown friends' abroad, who support the Czech western policy. Havel said: 'I thank all of you very much. I have not forgotten who has helped us in the time of the communist opression.
Cultural project in the European-American cooperation
The cultural project is a result of European-American cooperation. The commission for the creation of the Havel bust the sculptor Kurt Arentz received from the US Museum, as well as from the European Cultural Foundation and the international Alexander Order for Art and Science (Paris). 'The presidential portrait Havel is part of a series of portraits, with which the cultural organizations keep the personalities of our time in live memory.'
Under this aspect, Arentz has already created the busts of the US presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton. The portraits of the German Chancellors Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, as well as the Presidents Richard von Weizsaecker and Roman Herzog also belong there.
Consul Zavrel had at this visit in Berlin also talks with the German presidents Johannes Rau and other leading politicians. They thanked for the cultural-political engagement and promised thier support for new projects.
President Havel awarded the German President Rau the "Order of the White Lion" of the Czech Republic, the highest award of Prague. The predecessor of the present SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the CDU politician Helmut Kohl, in the 16 years of his government had improved the relations of the Germans to the Czechs and Slovaks after the expulsion of the ethnic Germans from these areas. The red-green German government continues on the road of cooperation for a united Europe. The mutual sympathies should help the will of both parties to find solutions to the open political problems. 'There is no alternative to cooperation in Europe', said President Havel in Berlin. Moreover, interest of the Czech Republic in the United States remains very strong.
Copyright 2000 Museum of European Art.