Art to Remember
From 26 March 2018 the exhibition Art to Remember: Post-War Work from our Museum Collections will be on display in the National Holocaust Museum. Work by 27 Jewish and non-Jewish artists in which the wartime persecution of the Jews plays a role will be presented in the museum.
More than half of the artists in this exhibition, both Jewish and non-Jewish, experienced the Second World War as an adult or when they were young. Post-war generations of Jewish artists, the children and grandchildren of survivors, have often needed to give meaning to the loss of family during the Shoah. The motivation of the non-Jewish artists includes social conscience and commitment.
This exhibition offers an impression of powerful and striking works that tell stories, pose questions, depict the harsh facts – and at times express powerlessness and unspeakable grief.
With some artists their traumatic war experiences are clearly evident in the work. Visual artist and amateur singer Frieda Tas (1896-1970) was deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the Second World War. Yet, she never sang again. She returned to drawing but first made a series of confrontational images of the camp before she could make other, freer work. Greet van Amstel (1903-1981) was left with a serious back injury from being imprisoned in Auschwitz and finally had to stop sculpting. After writing her war memoir, she developed other forms and techniques and primarily made abstract paintings.
Also non-Jewish artists made work with Holocaust themes. After the war, the well-known photographer Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) documented the demolition of Amsterdam’s old Jewish quarter: photographs of the houses of Jewish residents who had been deported and murdered. In 1990, commissioned by the Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum, Marlene Dumas (1953) made the painting Liberation (1945). In this work she visualizes the face of a traumatized man who is liberated from a concentration camp, but is incapable of expressing joy.
Works by post-war Jewish artists whose family members were murdered during the Shoah are also on display. Family history is among the themes examined or reconstructed by them in the form of photography, installations, ink drawings and artists' books. Photographer Leo Divendal (1947) visited the former Theresienstadt camp where his great aunts died. Annette Rosen-Apotheker (1953) tried to convey how she felt about losing more than two hundred family members – the magnitude of that loss – with an installation of vases, in which each vase stands for a murdered relative.
Also being shown as part of the exhibition
Excerpts from documentaries, talk shows and filmed interviews in which a number of the artists appear. Art to Remember: Post-War Work from the Museum Collection can be seen until 2 September 2018.
National Holocaust Museum
Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Quarter is comprised of the National Holocaust Museum together with the National Holocaust Memorial (Hollandsche Schouwburg), the Jewish Historical Museum, the Children's Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue.
The National Holocaust Museum is being realized in phases. In the first three-year phase, a varied selection of exhibitions and events introduces visitors to the different ways the history of the Holocaust can be presented in museums: by means of artistic expression, with authentic objects and based on personal stories. At the same time, this first phase focuses on the fundraising needed to implement the entire plan, a completed National Holocaust Museum. A place where the history of the persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands and the considerable consequences of the Shoah will be recounted in a broad, international context.
Would you like to visit the Jewish Cultural Quarter? Buy your tickets online.
Your ticket will give access to the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the JHM Children's Museum, and the National Holocaust Museum. You can visit all four locations with one ticket, which is valid for one month!
Please contact us for a guided tour.
With thanks to
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap & Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport. Het vfonds is hoofdbegunstiger van de eerste fase van het Nationaal Holocaust Museum in oprichting.
Main picture: Marlene Dumas - Liberation (1945)