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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Detroit Holocaust Museum Enters New Phase but Stays Strangely Mum

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Of the many local and regional Holocaust memorials and museums scattered across America, one stands out among the best: The Holocaust Memorial Center in suburban Detroit. For me, the legacy and future of the institution is personal.

Correctly billed as America’s “first Holocaust museum,” the Detroit enterprise was conceived fourteen years before the dominant United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. was even commissioned by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The Detroit museum opened its original doors at its first location in suburban West Bloomfield, Michigan in 1984. Subsequently, the Washington D.C. museum opened its doors in 1993.

Although there are currently scores of Holocaust museums and memorials throughout America, the museum in suburban Detroit, when it debuted, was nothing short of historic. It stood as the first free-standing museum in the country devoted to the topic. This extraordinary project was the dream of Rabbi Charles H. Rosenzveig, a Polish Holocaust survivor, in tandem with a local congregation of fellow survivors possessing visionary and fiery determination to not only document the heartless brutality of the twelve-year Reich war against the Jews, but to understand the underlying socio-economic and political causes powering the Nazi genocides. Hence, Rabbi Rosenzveig and I always enjoyed a special rapport. We shared the same fire and felt the same burn. In my case, it propelled me to write books on these topics, documenting corporate collusion and ethnic collaboration that made a life and death difference to so many.

Rabbi Rosenzveig invited me several times to lecture at the Museum on American corporate involvement with the Third Reich and the ethnic involvement that facilitated the destruction of six million Jews. This included documenting how IBM co-planned and co-organized the Holocaust with its punch card processes, as well as the involvement of

General Motors and Henry Ford — a courageous act in a city where those two automobile companies were headquartered and maintained powerful influences in the community.

More than just lectures, the Museum became known for its extraordinary exhibits which delved into the heartless economics that fueled Hitler’s Germany. He and I shared an uncanny realization of what was at stake. More than just stimulating memory and sorrow, the challenge was to prod deeper thought about the consequences of corporate connectivity with death machines.

We also shared a common heritage. Rabbi Rosenzveig was from Poland, lost nearly all his family, and told me he was not even sure how old he was. My parents were from Poland. We lost nearly all our relatives, and the two brave teenagers that became my parents were likewise unsure of how old they were. When Rabbi Rosenzveig and I sat together in the Museum, the conversation was often just silence and that unspoken certitude that passes noiselessly between two people who understand the agony of a common mission. No need for convincing but plenty of commiserating. Our job was to inform about the worst and inspire the best for those confronting the Holocaust–the rabbi devoted to his work in Detroit, and my speaking around the world on my works and my research.

When the new, larger, dramatically more architectonic museum opened in nearby Farmington Hills, it set the standard for such edifices. Many said the structure resembled a death camp, and drivers passing by complained its very appearance made them uncomfortable. In 2003, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Should a Museum Look as Disturbing as What It Portrays?” The article asserted that the center “may be the most provocative Holocaust memorial of them all,” with its stark exterior suggesting electrified wire and the bleak walls at Auschwitz. Rabbi Rosenzveig was actually fond of the impact his structure made. He did not believe in making an uncomfortable topic more palatable.

We both shared a fear that the Holocaust could happen again. In 2006, a decade ago, years before the Iran nuclear threat leapt onto the front page everywhere, Rabbi Rosenzveig invited me to speak at the museum’s annual gala. That night, I used a never-before mentioned term— “A Second Holocaust” — and warned it could be enabled by petrodollars fueling the Iranian nuclear program. The idea was to enunciate this warning in Detroit, where gas guzzling vehicles were still being manufactured. I felt it was ever more appropriate given Detroit’s unique status as the one city most pivotal to buttressing Nazism — thanks to Henry Ford’s gift to Hitler of an “international Jewish conspiracy” that rationalized his quest to expunge Jewish existence across Europe, and GM leaping to its role as “the arsenal of Nazism” with its manufacture of the Blitz trucks, JU-88 airplane engines, Panzer tank motor parts, torpedo heads, and land mine components.

The 2006 gala evening competed with a major sporting event that evening, so my comments were cut short due to abundant speakers and the truncated schedule. But the rabbi whispered in my ear, the museum wished to have me back to deliver the fuller message about Iran and a potential Second Holocaust.

Two years later, presidential candidate John McCain echoed the same fear I expressed that night. In July 2008, running against Barack Obama and focused on Obama’s position on the Iranian nuclear program, Republican contender John McCain declared, “The United States of America can never allow a second Holocaust.”

Rabbi Rosenzveig died later that year, in December 2008. A Congressional resolution lauded him as one who “endured and bore witness to the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust.”

During his tenure, he elevated the Detroit museum to one of international stature. He helped many scholars. For example, he worked with renown Paper Walls author, David Wyman, on a special volume, The World Reacts to the Holocaust, a massive tome published in 1996 by John Hopkins Press. Rabbi Rosenzveig was listed as co-author, and Wyman paid tribute to the rabbi in the forward as the man who “originated the concept of the book.” In the book, Wyman saluted the Detroit center for being the first free-standing Holocaust museum in America. The book and Rabbi Rosenzveig’s contributions were hailed, with one reviewer writing that the book was an “innovative study,” adding, “It is beautifully researched, well written, and beautifully (even elegantly) published. We owe a debt of gratitude to its editor and contributors for raising a question no one had previously asked.”

After Rabbi Rosenzveig departed, he was succeeded by the Holocaust scholar Guy Stern. Stern served as interim director. He had also worked on the Wyman book. Stern, who escaped Nazi Germany, was globally known for his expertise on the Holocaust and had received the Grand Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his academic accomplishments. Stern is still with the Museum, and now heads up the Center’s Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous.

Stern is hardly the only long-time devoted staffer at the Museum. The center maintains a valuable Library Archive under the baton of Feiga Weiss. Rabbi Rosenzveig, personally employing the perspective that only a survivor can muster, did a number of the pivotal video interviews.

In 2012, I returned to Detroit for a Museum co-sponsored two-event visit. I completed and updated the 2006 warning about the Iranian nuclear program in a presentation at the nearby synagogue. In the Museum auditorium, we helped set the stage for a global recognition of The Farhud, the 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad that attempted to exterminate the Jews of Baghdad. This was referred to by some as the long-overlooked Sephardic Kristallnacht. While the idea was bold and new when explored within the walls of the Museum in 2012, it eventually caught traction worldwide. Last year, together with other Jewish leaders in a live-streamed global event in the United Nations, we proclaimed International Farhud Day. Earlier this year, on the June 1, 2016 75th anniversary of the pogrom, special commemorations were held in the House of

Representatives in Washington, D.C., in New York in a Manhattan synagogue, in a London synagogue attended by diplomats and dignitaries, and also in the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem. While this observance is now globally known, the Detroit Museum boldly confronted the topic four years earlier.

With its special place in American Holocaust commemoration and documentation, the Detroit center must be preserved as it was intended to be and as it has been from its first day — a torch of Holocaust enlightenment that flickers the reminder, “Never Again.”

Too many Holocaust memorials have lost their original identity and transitioned to an institution which devotes itself to both Holocaust and genocide, or simply to global genocide. As one who plumbs the dark recesses of the genocide of many groups throughout history, from Herero Africans to Romanian Gypsies to the Ottoman Armenians, I know that all of these shameful chapters must be thoroughly illuminated to reduce the chance of their repetition. Holocaust research and memorial centers need to bring those chapters within their walls to document the similitude of blood and suffering at the hands of madmen. Otherwise “Never Again” is just a slogan and not a fateful warning to the world. We in the Holocaust community do this best when we preserve intact and conserve Holocaust remembrance and the uniqueness of Holocaust identity as an unparalleled and unique twelve-year onslaught perpetrated worldwide in broad daylight with headlines blaring as a propaganda ministry issued press releases.

Recently, it has been learned that Detroit’s Holocaust Memorial Center is contemplating changes. The institution is now being directed by Cheryl Guyer, who holds the unusual title of both “interim director” and “director of development.” This means her two hats cover both the soul of the museum and fund-raising — two spheres that aren’t always in sync. Rabbi Rosenzveig went against conventional economic wisdom to create the Museum.

When contacted by this writer, Guyer confirmed that the museum and its board is now undergoing a period of what she called “new strategic thinking and transition.” She refused to elaborate. When asked again, she steadfastly refused to comment, saying, “We are not ready to talk about it.” In the ensuing days, Guyer declined to respond to more than eight email and voice requests for further information for this story.

The Museum’s official media spokesman, Glenn Oswald, one of the most affable and responsive publicists in the field, who promoted my earlier events at the museum, was contacted. He too declined all comment and failed to respond to several voice mails and emails attempting to gather ordinary background information about the Museum. So no one knows just what changes or transitions are in store — and what direction they may go.

Despite, the wall of silence, it has been learned that a new director is being considered to assume the Museum’s top leadership slot next year as part of the transition. According to Museum sources, a local rabbi with a distinguished record is under consideration. That process is now in full swing. Until a decision is made, the Museum

continues to remain mum about its plans. No one knows what the “transition” is — or what prompts the continued reticence.

Holocaust remembrance and the museums everywhere, built with community money, belong to the survivors and their succeeding generations. After all, it was their suffering, indelible stories, and unforgettable nightmares that excavated the depths beneath the concrete foundations, the walls, and exhibits. The boards of directors of such museums everywhere are mere trustees of the legacy. They don’t own it. They don’t even rent it. They are custodians.

Therefore, Guyer should check with the community before any “strategic thinking or transition” is announced or implemented, and shine the light of openness upon what is in store. Survivors and their descendants hold the trademark on Holocaust memory. For many, the mark is tattooed on their forearms; for many others, it is permanently written in their hearts.

Edwin Black

The Golem Comes to Life in Berlin’s Jewish Museum [video]

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

A golem (Heb: Shapeless lump) is a creature formed out of a dust or mud that’s brought to life by ritual incantations and sequences of Hebrew letters on a scroll dumped into its mouth. In Jewish lore, after it has been brought to life by a human creator, the golem becomes a helper, a companion, or a rescuer of an imperiled Jewish community. In many golem stories, as in the later Frankenstein tales, the creature runs amok and becomes a threat to its creator.

The myth of artificial life – from homunculi and cyborgs to robots and androids – is the focus of an extensive thematic exhibition about the golem at the Jewish Museum Berlin. This most prominent of Jewish legendary figures has inspired generations of artists and writers to this day.

“Our exhibition presents the golem from a variety of perspectives, from its inception in a Jewish mystical ritual to its role as a subject of popular storytelling in film and its afterlife in artistic and digital realms,” says a museum press release. “The golem symbolizes each era’s dreaded dangers and hopes for redemption. The exhibition uses the golem figure to examine topics like creativity, creation, power, and redemption.”

The exhibition demonstrates the thematic richness of the material, as is apparent from medieval manuscripts, many-layered narratives, and works of art from the last two hundred years. Whether in painting, sculpture, object art, video, installation art, photography, or illustration, the golem is very much alive and, with it, the question of what it means to be human.

The exhibition is being held at the Jewish Museum Berlin’s Old Building, level 1, Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin, September 23,  2016 to January 29, 2017.


‘Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children’ at the Jewish Museum

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

When John Singer Sargent’s 1896 magisterial painting, “Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children,” depicting Adèle Meyer with her children Elsie Charlotte and Frank Cecil, was first shown at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1897, Henry James wrote in Harper’s Weekly, “Of these elements Mr. Sargent has made a picture of a knock-down insolence of talent and truth of characterization, a wonderful rendering of life, of manners, of aspects, of types, of textures, of everything.”

Seductive, flamboyant, and deeply revealing, this lushly painted portrait captures the world of a privileged family of English Jews who lived more than a century ago.

Sir Carl Ferdinand Meyer was born in Hamburg, Germany, the second son of Siegmund Meyer and Elise Rosa Hahn daughter of Reuben Hahn. He became a naturalized British subject in 1877. In 1883 he married Adèle Levis, daughter of Julius Levis of Hampstead, and they had a son, Frank Cecil Meyer, and a daughter.

Meyer worked first for the Rothschild family as their chief clerk and negotiator with the De Beers mining group. He then went on to work for De Beers and became deputy chairman of the company. He was also governor of the National Bank of Egypt, and member of the board of numerous mining companies. He was also a board member of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC). He was given the title of baronet in 1910.

Meyer had a great interest in the arts, showing support for opera, music and the theatre. In 1909 he donated 70,000 pounds to the Shakespeare National Memorial Theatre, now rebuilt as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. During World War I, prompted by a suggestion by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero that Britons of German origin should speak out publicly, Meyer wrote to The Times expressing his disapproval of the tactics used by the Germans in the war, including the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. No dual loyalties there.

As a society hostess known for her exuberant soirées, enchanting voice, and support of the arts, Lady Meyer was also a socially concerned philanthropist supporting working class women, underprivileged families, and women’s suffrage.

On loan from the Tate Britain in London, it has been more than 10 years since this painting was last on view in the US. The exhibition highlights this remarkable work—contextualizing it with other family portraits, family photographs, personal correspondence and domestic memorabilia, as well as satirical imagery from popular culture that relates to both the Meyer family and John Singer Sargent.

In the Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, NYC, through February 5, 2017.


The Knesset Museum That Almost Didn’t Happen

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Like the original Mishkan, until it found its current, permanent location the Knesset traveled a bit.

Before 1949, the Knesset met in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Dizengoff House (today Independence Hall), and in the “Kessem” movie house located at Knesset Square. On 26 December 1949, the Knesset moved to Jerusalem, where it held its first meetings in the Jewish Agency’s impressive semi-circular building in Rehavia.

In 1950, the Knesset moved to the Froumine (Frumin) House on 24 King George Street in Jerusalem, which was originally supposed to be a bank. It met there from 1950 to 1966, until it finally moved to where the Knesset building is located today, in Givat Ram in Jerusalem.

Exterior of the Froumine House.

Exterior of the Froumine House. Photo by: switch_1010

Here’s where the story gets silly.

Ze'ev Sherf, David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett, and Haim-Moshe Shapira sitting at the government table in the Chamber at Froumine House - 1952

Ze’ev Sherf, David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Sharett, and Haim-Moshe Shapira sitting at the government table in the Chamber at Froumine House – 1952

After 1966, the government used the building to house different government offices.

In 2002, the government sold the building to a private investor for 10 million shekels.

But the government then realized it still needed the building for its government offices, so it began renting the building back from the new owner.

The new owner decided he wanted to tear down the old Knesset building and build a 16-story project on the site. He filed the papers, but the Council for The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (SPIHS) protested and the project was halted.

The government then decided to buy the building back from the new owner for 45 million shekel (not a bad investment at all for that private owner).

In 2010, the government completed the repurchase and passed a law that the building and its interior must be preserved.

And now they are turning it into the Knesset Museum.

Knesset Museum Exterior Construction 2

Photo of the Day

Painter Jonasz Stern’s ‘Landscape after the Holocaust’ in Krakow Museum

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The recorded testimony of Jonasz Stern at the Yad Vashem digital collection relates: “Testimony of Jonasz Stern, born in Kalusz, Poland, 1904, regarding his experiences in the Lvov Ghetto, his rescue from shooting in killing pits during the liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto, in hiding, in Budapest, in Romania, and in other places.”

The transcribed account follows:

“Escape from Krakow to Lvov with his wife, at the outbreak of the war; move from apartment to apartment, after the occupation of Lvov; deportation to the Lvov Ghetto, November 1941; Lvov Ghetto life including overcrowding, hunger and the lack of means of existence; “Aktion,” August 1942; obtains Aryan documents for his wife, and her move to Stryj; capture of the witness, May 1943; deportation to Janowska camp with 3,000 Jews; concentration of thousands of Jews in a field for two days, without food or water, and shooting into the crowd by the Germans; transfer of 7,000 men, women and children who are naked, in railroad cars to Belzec; escape from the train through a window which he broke when they were 6.5 kilometers from Lvov; return to the Lvov Ghetto for ten days, until the liquidation of the ghetto; deportation of thousands of Jews to Janowska camp, mid-June 1943; transfer of the Jews to the killing site in Hyclowa Gorka, the next day; escape from the shooting pit, after ten hours among the corpses of the dead and the wounded people; hides in fields and in a forest, and receives help from the local farmers, in particular from Poles from Poznan who resided in Sknilow; return to Lvov, and hides with the help of Polish friends; move to Rozniatow by train; walks on foot through the mountains and illegally crosses the border into Hungary; he is attacked by a shepherd before crossing the border, who beats him and steals his belongings; move to the Hungarian side, after wanderings in the mountains for eight days; arrival to Budapest with the help of local people; life under the protection of the Polish Committee, until the German occupation of Hungary; move to Romania, summer 1944; capture by the Gestapo, and release after the intervention of Endre Laszlo, a commander of the Hungarian Gendarmerie in a town near Budapest; life in Budapest; liberation by the Red Army.”

The account concludes with the following heartbreaking lines: “Receives information regarding the return of his wife to Krakow during the war, and that she willingly presented herself to the Gestapo, due to her lack of means of existence and exhaustion.”

Other than that, Painter Jonasz Stern left a permanent mark on the Polish art of the 20th century. Before the war, he was a member of the first Grupa Krakowska (Krakow Group), and in 1957 he co-founded Grupa Krakowska II, with members including Maria Jarema and Tadeusz Kantor. These were the two most significant artistic formations in Poland. The pre-war Group experimented with form and manifested its left-wing stance, the majority of members affiliated to the KPP, the Communist Party of Poland.

After the war had erupted, Stern fled from Krakow to Lvov. Of his paintings only one remains, the Nude Study from 1935, which is now part of the collection of the National Museum in Krakow.

After the war, Stern became a philosopher, reflecting on life, its transience and dignity. In his assemblages, he expressed his thoughts using simple symbols: scrunched-up fabric, animal and fish bones, stones, netting and – occasionally – photographs. The drama of his paintings is entirely devoid of pathos. Stern created a universe of abstract landscapes left by a world annihilated.

Jonasz Stern – Landscape after the Holocaust

Aug. 5 – Sep. 25 2016, Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK), 4 Lipowa St. 30-702 Kraków, Poland. Tuesday–Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM, Monday – closed. phone +48 12 263 40 00.


Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Buys Permanent Facilities

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Executive Director Judy Margles and Board Chair Elaine Coughlin last week announced the signing of a purchase agreement for the facilities at 724 NW Davis in Portland—formerly the home of the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Margles wrote the following announcement:

As our closest circle of friends, I am excited to share something very special with you. OJMCHE is purchasing a new home, a 14,500 square foot unit in the De Soto building at 724 NW Davis Street (formerly the Museum of Contemporary Craft). I am also thrilled to tell you that we achieved the purchase of the building with the hard work of the OJMCHE Board and in particular outgoing chair, David Newman. This is the moment where we have finally fulfilled our vision and secured our mission for generations to come.

How did we get to this momentous possibility? July will already mark the two-year anniversary of the merger with Oregon Holocaust Resource Center. The merger enriched our institution in countless ways – we expanded our education staff to include a Holocaust educator, we are proud stewards of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, we bring thousands of school children to both the Memorial and museum, and, of course, we continue to be the community repository for the Jewish experience in Oregon. Most importantly, we have deepened our focus on Jewish values and traditions, while working even more strenuously to bring our work to the wider community as a vehicle that can unite all people in their common humanity. In short, the merger has greatly expanded and fundamentally strengthened our core mission.

And now we have the opportunity to take the next step in our evolution. In a stroke of great luck, the fortuitous arrival on the market of this building became the perfect space for our museum. While this was an unexpected opportunity, we were ready to receive it because of the long-range feasibility planning that we undertook this last year. This space—purpose-built as a contemporary museum with ample room for exhibits, programs, school groups, collections and archives—perfectly matches the needs detailed in our feasibility report.

I am also thrilled to tell you that we achieved the purchase of the building with the tremendous support of three lead gifts from Renee and Irwin Holzman, Lois and Leonard Schnitzer Family and The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Arlene Schnitzer & Jordan Schnitzer. To date we have received a total of 33 gifts to make this phase of the campaign possible. For this generosity and sign of confidence, we are immensely grateful. Our community campaign, to raise funds for operating reserves and move-in costs, will commence shortly and I look forward to engaging each and every one of you in our endeavors.

Now that our dreams are becoming reality, we shall start to focus on the use of the space. I can share with you our basic conception: we will have state-of-the art storage for our archives and collection; a café; a gift shop; a multi-purpose auditorium for public programs and school groups; two floors of exhibit galleries with temporary exhibits on the first floor; and on the second space for core exhibits about the Oregon Jewish experience, discrimination in Oregon and the history of the Holocaust using stories of local survivors.

The coming months may prove to be the most significant in our history. An exciting consensus is emerging among museum professionals. We see successful museums of the future as places where people can hang out and engage in real and diverse social issues to make a genuine difference in their lives: these museums of the future will blur boundaries between the inside of the museum walls and what occurs outside, where programs will address a rich variety of living community concerns, while always recognizing, remembering and honoring the past. These museums will link historical experiences of the past with needs of the living present.

I want our museum to be such a museum: a broker and filter of perspectives and shared wisdom, a repository for traditional learning and historical scholarship, and also a stimulus for creative thinking on the way forward for our community. I want us to represent the full plurality of voices in our community and I want our programs to address a full range of community concerns.

We, this circle of friends, now share a magically rare opportunity: to help each other make our beloved Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education thrive, in all these many and varied ways, for many, many years to come.


Judy Margles

Executive Director


Pushkin Museum Exhibition Celebrating Leon Bakst’s 150th Birthday

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Pushkin State Museum of Arts in Moscow is featuring an exhibition dedicated to the 150th birthday of Léon Bakst (1866–1924). Bakst was a Russian theatrical designer, painter, portraitist, book illustrator, interior designer and fashion designer in the 1910s and 20s. He published numerous articles on contemporary design and dance, was also interested in photography and the cinema, and wrote an autobiographical novel. Being fond of the art of Ancient Greece and the Orient, Bakst’s art merged classical motifs with the eccentricity of Art Nouveau.

Bakst was born in Grodno (today Belarus), to a middle-class Jewish family. His grandfather was an exceptional tailor, good enough to receive a special post from the Czar, and owned a large mansion in Saint Petersburg. After his parents had moved to Moscow, Léon would visit his grandfather’s house every Saturday, later reporting how impressed by it he had been as a youngster and how much pleasure he experienced there. At the age of twelve, Léon won a drawing contest and decided to become a painter, but his parents did not support his decision. He nevertheless studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts as a noncredit student, because he had failed the entry exams, working part-time as a book illustrator. He was eventually admitted in 1883, at the tender age of 17.

Bakst's Self-portrait, 1893

Bakst’s Self-portrait, 1893

At the time of his first exhibition (1889) Léon took the surname Bakst, derived from his mother’s maiden name, seeing as his father’s surname, Rosenberg, wasn’t helping his career in Russia’s art world. In 1893 he moved to Paris, studying at the Académie Julian, but still visiting his grandfather in Saint Petersburg often. In 1899, he co-founded with Sergei Diaghilev the influential periodical Mir Iskusstva, or World of Art. His graphics for this publication brought him great fame.

Bakst preferred to live in western Europe because, as a Jew, he did not have the right to live permanently outside the Pale of Settlement. During his visits to Saint Petersburg he taught in Zvantseva’s school, where one of his students was Marc Chagall.

Beginning in 1909, Bakst worked mostly as stage-designer, designing sets for Greek tragedies, and, in 1908, he made a name for himself as a scene-painter for Diaghilev with the Ballets Russes. In 1914, Bakst was elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1922, Bakst broke off his relationship with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.

Girl in kokoshnik - Léon Bakst

Girl in kokoshnik – Léon Bakst

Bakst visited Baltimore in 1922, staying with his friend and patron, art philanthropist Alice Warder Garrett. Having met in Paris in 1914, when Mrs. Garrett was accompanying her diplomat husband in Europe, Bakst soon depended on his new American friend as both a confidante and an agent. Alice Garrett became Bakst’s representative in the United States, organizing two exhibitions of the artist’s work at New York’s Knoedler Gallery, as well as subsequent traveling shows. When in Baltimore, Bakst re-designed Garrett’s dining room in a shocking acidic yellow and ‘Chinese’ red confection. The artist subsequently went on to transform a small gymnasium on the grounds into a colorfully Modernist private theater.

This first retrospective exhibition of the artist to be shown in Russia includes more than 200 paintings, drawings, theatrical costumes and archive photos of Léon Bakst from Russian and Western state and private collections, gathered together by an international group of curators..

In late 2010, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London presented an exhibit of Bakst’s costumes and prints.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pushkin-museum-exhibition-celebrating-leon-baksts-150th-birthday/2016/06/14/

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