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Lunch in the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse)

There are times in life when a single moment gains more clarity than the thousand moments before and after; when the significant size of a city space shrinks in the coincidence of two people meeting again and again, quite unplanned, as though destiny had it all preemptively narrated. Such were the moments in Vienna when I, previously untouched by the poetic force of a female muse, found myself repeatedly captivated by a mysterious, delicate girl.

It was a fascination which might not have been so fortified were it not for the repetition of the first encounter. I first saw my muse in the elegant cafeteria of the Kunsthistoriches Museum. Dominik and I had both marked her out, quite independently of one another. We were struck by the purity of her face, quite devoid of artificial make up but alive with a natural innocence, and by her clothing which was different. Her outfit looked almost home-made, but betrayed a feminine elegance in each of its carefully combined components.

I might not have thought of her again, had it not been for the coincidence of a second encounter the following day, some kilometres away on the other side of Vienna, in the Café Eiles. Unable to believe the coincidence of quite independently finding the same girl who had so captivated me in the art museum the day before, my interest peaked and I found myself utterly enraptured by this girl. Again she betrayed characteristic elegance as she went about sipping a tea while writing what looked like a journal, and knitting a rather complex scarf.

Vienna Muse FINAL

Lunch at the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse) (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

By this point I knew that the girl was becoming something of an inspiration to me, and like paparazzi I grabbed for my camera, desperate to capture the sight of this girl who I was sure I would never see again. It’s just that the following day a third encounter, in the same café, occurred. No longer a coincidence of place, but of timing. Another encounter which appeared to defy chance and confirmed to me that the paths of this girl and I were meant to cross. That she was my muse and that I must paint her.

As soon as I saw my muse on that second encounter this painting formed in my head. Now I have created it, complete with the lunch we ate in the cosy Café Eiles as I sat, captivated by my muse, I feel somehow satisfied that my muse has been set down on paper. But I can’t help but feel sad that even now, after three coincidental encounters I know nothing more about the girl who ensnared me. Neither her name, nor her voice, nor even a single thing about her. I just know that to me she was very special. Maybe one day we’ll meet again.

Vienna Muse DETAIL

Lunch at the Café Eiles (Vienna Muse) detail, 2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. AR #

    Congratulations, that’s very special. Lovely art, too.

    February 2, 2016

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