web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Portraits Of Remembrance: Paintings By Diana Kurz

Brothers (1999) 86 x 50, oil on linen and paper by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

Brothers (1999) 86 x 50, oil on linen and paper by Diana Kurz Courtesy the artist

Share Button

Three (1992-1994) 98 x 77 oil on linen by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

Another much smaller image of Zora depicts her as an even younger infant sitting up for her portrait while the caption that frames her along the edges tells us she was born in 1939 and was “hidden in a hospital in Belgrade …was discovered and murdered by the Nazis.”

Another very large painting (98” x 77”), Three, pursues the same testimonial motif, here utilizing a photograph of a father and his two young children taken in the 1930’s. The children were forced to wear the yellow star but the wounded veteran, proudly wearing his WWI medals, was exempt under the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws. Eventually even these exemptions were abolished and all Jews faced deportation and death camps. Kurz’s stark portrait of absolute strangers dramatically bridges the familial gap and imposes upon us an intimacy and empathy seldom achieved in Holocaust art. They become our family because they are more than our People; they are a family we could have known all too well. A patriotic father who fought and suffered for his country, is simply trying to raise two children in as much normalcy as abnormal times might permit. And perhaps most horrifying, we know with almost certainty the fate that they could never have guessed.

Dorrit and Michael Kurz (1990) 53 x 64 oil on linen by Diana Kurz
Courtesy the artist

In Dorrit and Michael Kurz (1990) the artist again focuses on her own family. By now we recognize Michael, here with his older daughter Dorrit posing in a somewhat more formal portrait against a railing and a village view out the window. Kurz’s painting style is matter-of-fact and disarmingly simple. Dorrit’s deep blue dress contrasts with her father’s grey suit just as her pretty red bow echoes his red hair. She stares pensively into the distance while he confidently confronts the camera. Their future seems to stretch endlessly before them. And yet the blank wall that formed the perfect backdrop now allows for the text’s bitter history: “Michael Kurz and Dorit deported in the 1940’s from Yugoslavia to an unknown destination. They were never heard of again.”

Diana Kurz’s most powerful works in this series demands that we take notice of the devastating “normalcy” that pervades these images. It is perhaps this aspect of normalcy of each and every victim of Nazi terror than galvanizes our emotions to reach back through time and reconnect with these victims. The same emotions were summoned for me in the aftermath of a distinctly different tragedy. The New York Times from September 14, 2001 until the end of that year profiled 1,910 victims of the 9/11 attacks in a series called “Portraits of Grief.” The overwhelming sense I got from reading them and the theme that time and time again would tear out my heart was the overwhelming decency and normalcy of these innocents. It is this insight that makes Kurz’s work so riveting. By depicting the all-too-soon to be victims as simply normal individuals, the horror of the genocide against the Jews is fully revealed. We were not persecuted and murdered because of any crime, any characteristic or any trait that could be discerned. No, it was only as Jews, and here as Jews in the abstract, that the Nazis decreed death to us, our families, our people. It is the very normalcy of the victims that makes this crime so egregious. This is Kurz’s crucible that she exploits so well.

(The artist can be reached at dkur@earthlink.net)

Share Button

About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com


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.

No Responses to “Portraits Of Remembrance: Paintings By Diana Kurz”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, the school attended by 14-year-old shooting victim Reat Griffin Underwood.
Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder
Latest Sections Stories
Tali Hill, a beneficiary of the Max Factor Family Foundation.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas’s deans, Rabbi Moshe Katz and Rabbi Zev Goldman, present award to Educator of the Year, Rabbi Michoel Paris.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.

The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.

The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.

More Articles from Richard McBee
Jo-El/Jore-El (2013) 48” x 60” acrylic on canvas, by Joel Silverstein
Courtesy the artist

Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).

Three Generation Triptych 2012-2013
Photo-collages with gouache and acrylic paint on paper (35 x 105) by Siona Benjamin
Courtesy Flomenhaft Gallery

Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.

Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.

Bradford has opted to fully exploit the diverse possibilities of the physical surface by concentrating on the three-dimensional application of paint (impasto) and other material.

The ostensible outsider frequently has the privilege of seeing the exclusive inner sanctum with fresh and unbiased eyes. Artists’ initial encounters with the Talmud are equally blessed.

It is a rare season indeed when two major auction houses show not only resplendent offerings of Judaica, but also multiple examples of highly unusual and rare Jewish-themed fine art. That is indeed the case now both at Sotheby’s December 19th auction and the Bonhams recent December 10th auction.

As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.

Unconditional love is a concept that sets the bar of human conduct and forgiveness at a dizzying height, challenging the very fabric of human credulity.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/portraits-of-remembrance-paintings-by-diana-kurz/2012/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: