A number of Robert DeBear's elaborate tessellation paintings were unseen even by his family prior to his death in 2011.
"He was a very private person, incredibly talented but not that interested in making a profit from his work," says his daughter, Maj Anya DeBear. "When he decided to stop chemotherapy, my mother asked him if he had any last wishes, and that was when he showed my siblings and I his old drawings, and said he'd always wanted to share them."
With a background in visual arts and committed to spreading her father's dazzling works with new people, Maj launched a label of luxe scarves printed with his unusual, colorful patterns. Appropriately dubbed "Ursidae" (which translates to "Family of Bears" in Latin), Maj's unusual scarves are intended to "convey the warmth and comfort of home."
Because of their deeply personal inspiration, Maj also hopes her clients treat each Ursidae piece like an heirloom with a long history, since, she says, "That's essentially what the prints were to me."
"I've always coveted scarves passed down to me so I wanted to make something equally precious," stresses DeBear. "And, of course, scarves are amazing for showcasing prints."
Indeed, the project has proved a source of strength and healing for the DeBear family -- but also, Maj hopes, a source of multigenerational chic. "I was really inspired by eccentric older women like Karen Blixen, and my husband's late grandmother when I was designing the collection," says Maj. "It's the idea of just having as rich a life as possible until the very end."