Portraits as Testimony

Ghez Collection, University of Haifa
Jewish Artists Who Perished in the Holocaust

To: 25 November 2010
In 1978 the noted late Swiss collector, Dr. Oscar Ghez, presented the University of Haifa with 137 works of art by 18 artists who perished in the Holocaust. Founder and president of the Petit Palais Museum in Geneva, Oscar Ghez de Castelnuovo had been collecting art since 1945, and his collection represented most European art movements and schools from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
His first, accidental encounter with a few artworks by artists lost to the Holocaust inspired Dr. Ghez to search for more works of this nature. It took him thirty years to assemble the collection, which he later donated to the University of Haifa. All the oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculptures that are included in the collection were found and purchased in Paris. It was also in Paris where all of the 18 artists lived, at least through a part of their artistic careers, and where most of them were arrested by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Most of the artists represented here, along with many others, were arrested and interned in the concentration camps of Drancy, Compiègne, and Gurs, and ultimately deported to death camps. Thus, a question mark has been placed where the year of the artist’s death should appear on the label accompanying many of the works of art exhibited, as in most cases it is not possible to know precisely when he or she died. We know only the year that the artist was arrested and/or sent to a death camp or a concentration camp.
The Oscar Ghez collection stands not only as a memorial to artists who perished in the Holocaust, but also as an important record documenting the creative output of 18 artists who were part of what has become known as “School of Paris”. Clearly, Dr. Ghez showed sensitivity and determination in seeking out and drawing together works by these artists.
Print   

Karl (Tobiasz) Haber
Polish, 1885-1943
Woman with Dark Hair
Oil on canvas
Nathalie Kraemer
French, 1891 (or 1883) -?
Woman in Blue
Oil on canvas
Nathalie Kraemer
French, 1891 (or 1883) -?
Portrait in White Vest
Oil on canvas
Roman Kramsztyk
Polish, 1885-1942
The Negro Musician
Oil on canvas
Henri (Chaim) Epstein
Polish, 1891-?
Young Woman
Oil on canvas
Adolphe (Aizik) Feder
Russian, 1887-?
Kiki with Fan
Oil on canvas