web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Home » Sections » Arts »

Artist and Survivor

Chanele Anne Grun Kempler

This is the story of a Holocaust survivor who began her odyssey in Dej, Romania. Chanele Anne Grun Kempler was a teenager when she came to Auschwitz, almost 20 when she immigrated to Montreal and became a famous artist, and 64 when she passed away, alone in her bed, in 1994, on her chest a letter from Yad Vashem informing her that the painting she offered to the organization would be admitted and displayed.

She, like most artists, never achieved real success during her brief time on earth, although, some of her paintings sold for close to $10,000. Her tumultuous life before, during and after the war, helped create a body of artwork that covers the war, Jews and the concept of healing.

She first began to paint after immigrating to Canada, participating in her first art show in Montreal in 1964. Thereafter, she showed her work in at least one art gallery or public space every year in New York, Paris, and Montreal until 1984.

Background

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you that my mother, Sarah bas Ben Zion z”l, had been a prisoner in Auschwitz during the war. It was there that she bunked with her cousin Anne Grun, Chanele, who ultimately became her best friend.

Chanele was an artist, quite bohemian actually and a remarkable and beautiful person. She came from an artistic Hasidic family. She always said that although her father was in the insurance business, he was a very expressive man who painted on canvas for personal gratification. Her mother painted on silk and her brother on glass. He was also a photographer.

After the war, Kempler (née Grun), lived in various Displaced Persons camps, married and, in 1949, immigrated with her husband to Montreal. She began to paint soon after.

Anne Kempler’s work can be divided stylistically into distinct categories: Expressionism, Abstraction, Surrealism and Op-Art. A visual analysis of her work shows strong regard for and the influence of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Francis Picabia, among others.

Nearly her entire body of work is expressed by bright, jewel tone colors, no matter how serious the subject matter. She worked in oil and acrylic and was highly skilled in the medium of scratchboard or scraperboard. Working with this material was difficult and unforgiving as the artist has to “scratch or scrap away” the surface. Akin to the process of intaglio printing, the results often-yielded highly detailed pictures, many of which were enhanced with watercolor or paint.

Her work is linked to the celebration of Jewish life and holidays, her autobiographical experiences, memories of Auschwitz and her childhood.

Deeply personal in nature, Kempler’s art is representative of a dying population of Holocaust survivors who found a means of expressing their memories and emotions artistically.

Kempler’s art expressed her heritage quite simply in the most positive spiritual way possible. Through the agonies of this Jewish Diaspora and the horrors of Auschwitz, the artist depicts dire, horrible and inhumane events with some glimmer of the spirit that there is hope for humanity.

Although the art is “dark” in terms of subject matter, the spirit of her humanity is ever- present.

Her art questions the juxtaposition of “good and evil”: the sun shines bright in the sky while Jews are being transported to concentration camps; a Kapo rescues a child from selection from the gas chamber, anonymous hands reach out to help each other.

It also depicts with “abstract” candidness the unseeing eyes and deaf ears of the world, and also the betrayals. But it also depicts the beauty of the verdant forest landscape (from which she was deported), buildings in her beloved city of Dej, family birthdays and other celebrations, including many Jewish holidays.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Artist and Survivor”

  1. Thanks for putting these images and her accounts up. I'd never seen them before. There really is a beauty behind the darkness. If a movie about Frida Kahlo could become a feature film, why not Chanele Kempler? Yes, push for the documentary (i'll watch it), but a feature film might help people make more links between their own humanity and that of the artist and the world/people that shaped her art. As surreal as her images are, the reality behind them is still alive…call Spielberg, somebody.

  2. Beto Chaya says:

    work is linked to the celebration of Jewish life and holidays, her autobiographical experiences, memories of Auschwitz and her childhood.

    Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-artist-a-survivor/2013/12/30/

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The United States condemned Iran for honoring Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh but is not so bothered when Abbas honors PA terrorists.
CIA, Mossad Collaborated on Killing Hezbollah No. 2 Leader in Damascus
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Ben Zion
Chanele Anne Grun Kempler

Although Kempler’s art is “dark,” the spirit of her humanity is ever- present.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-artist-a-survivor/2013/12/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: