Franz Berko in serious condition |

Franz Berko in serious condition

Aspen Times Staff Report

Noted Aspen photographer Franz Berko remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, according to family members.

Berko apparently suffered a cerebral hemorrhage Tuesday afternoon. He was flown from Aspen to Grand Junction where his condition was initially listed as critical. Yesterday afternoon, his condition was described as “stable.”

Berko, now in his mid-80s, has been one of the towering figures of Aspen’s modern-day “renaissance.”

As a photographer and filmmaker, he was one of the first people invited to Aspen by Walter Paepcke when Paepcke began to realize his dream of turning Aspen into an “Athens of the West.”

According to a family member, “Paepcke brought Franz here because he could contribute as an artist – and because, as a photographer, he could document everything.”

Berko took copious photographs of the Goethe Bicentennial Convocation, an astonishing gathering of intellectuals from around the world, which launched Aspen’s new artistic and intellectual identity. His photographs of that event – including a magnificent portrait of Albert Schweitzer – are part of the historical record.

Like many others, Berko was seduced by the beauty and charm of Aspen and decided to stay. The photographs he took here over the succeeding years are both works of art and important historical documents, recording Aspen as it was – and as it has changed over the decades.

Family members have expressed hope that Berko will recover and eventually return to Aspen.

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