web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 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.

Current Top Story
Bibi and Obama: Head to Head
Obama Declares War on Israel
Latest Sections Stories
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

book-To-Fill-The-Sky-With-Stars

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Respler-032715

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

South-Florida-logo

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”

First, sit down with your helpers and a pen and paper and break the jobs down into small parts.

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: