OLD MASTER PAINTINGS

Art and Auschwitz

This exhibition at

The Last Expressions Art and Auschwitz

touched me deeply. It is a very sad account of incarceration and despair, but also a testament of endurance and perseverance. As I looked through the images I could not help but wonder how art has helped some artists of the camp to deal with these horrific situations and others to record what was happening in hopes that their images might survive and be a testament to cruelty for the world to see. I was also very surprised to learn that portraiture was one of the major forms of surviving art from Auschwitz. There are some really interesting images, but I want you to discover them for yourself...

...Even though I knew there was no chance to take these sketches out of Auschwitz, I drew whenever possible.... My commitment to drawing came out of a deep instinct for self-preservation and undoubtedly helped me to deny the unimaginable horrors of life at that time. By taking the role of observer, I could at least for a few moments detach myself from what was going on in Auschwitz and was therefore better able to hold together the threads of sanity.
(Alfred Kantor, The Book of Alfred Kantor: an Artist's Journal of the Holocaust (New York, 1971)
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