In a corner of what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a five year old Jewish boy blinds himself in the left eye with a kitchen knife while sharpening a pencil. The surgeon, understanding the child yearns to be an artist, explains: “There is no hope for the eye, and no hope for a one-eyed artist. Drawing requires seeing three dimensions — for that you need two.” Sixty one years later a different surgeon botches a retina repair on the same patient’s other eye. Between these two blindings another set of extraordinary events provide the groundwork for the achievement of William Pachner.
First: in 1939, at the age of 22, Pachner is provided a three month visitor’s visa to the United States where his portfolio of European illustrations, though turned down by Esquire Magazine,